Friday, November 09, 2012

World food prices remain just below the crisis levels of 2008

The U.N.'s Food and Agriculture Organization has issued their latest forecast of world food supply and prices. The good news is that food prices have dropped slightly, but that might not last long. The FAO's forecast points to a decrease in harvests worldwide that might bring the prices back up. Food prices are slightly below levels of 2008 when the high cost of food sparked riots around the world. The FAO says wheat production has dropped 5.5 percent from last year, while all grains have dropped 2.7 percent.

From Reuters Alert Net, writer James Mackenzie summarizes the report.
The FAO's November Food Outlook report pointed to continuing pressure on grains output in the current season following this year's droughts in key producer regions from the Black Sea to the U.S. cornbelt.
Wheat production, which has also suffered heavily in the droughts in eastern Europe and central Asia, was seen falling 5.5 percent to 661 million tonnes, the agency said.
World cereals production is expected to fall 2.7 percent to 2.284 billion tonnes in the 2012/13 season, it said, trimming slightly its previous output forecast of 2.286 billion tonnes.
"This season's world cereal supply and demand balance is proving much tighter than in 2011/12 with global production falling short of the projected demand and cereal stocks declining sharply," the FAO said.
The Black Sea drought is set to cut wheat output in Russia and Ukraine by some 30 percent, while Kazakhstan will see its crop down by more than half.
Wheat production is set to rise in the United States but U.S. maize output was decimated by a drought which caught farmers by surprise and slashed the corn crop.
On wheat, FAO noted that levels were close to the average of the past five years and it said plantings in major producing regions next year would match or even increase over levels seen in 2012, pointing to a rise in production next season.

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