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Global food prices climb sharply in May


Rome, 3 June 2021 - Global food prices rose at an alarming rate in May, the fastest growth in more than a decade, despite world cereal production being on track to reach a record high, according to a report released today by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).

  The FAO Food Price Index averaged 127.1 points in May, up 4.8 percent from a year earlier and 39.7 percent higher year-over-year.

  The FAO Food Price Index, which tracks international prices of the most actively traded food commodities in the world on a monthly basis, saw a spike in international prices for vegetable oils, sugar and grains this month, pushing the index to climb to its highest level since September 2011, just 7.6 percent below its nominal historical peak.
FAO's Cereal Supply and Demand Bulletin, released simultaneously today, provides the first forecast for world cereal production in 2021: the current forecast is nearly 2.821 billion tons, a record high and 1.9% higher than in 2020, led by maize, which is expected to increase production by 3.7% year-on-year.

  World cereal consumption is expected to increase by 1.7% to 2.826 billion tons in 2021/22. Total cereal food consumption is expected to grow in line with the world population, while wheat consumption for animal feed is also expected to rise.

  Based on these forecasts, world cereal stocks at the end of the 2021/22 crop season are expected to increase by 0.3 percent to 811 million tons. While the small increase is expected to end a three-year decline in stocks, the global stocks-to-utilization ratio is expected to fall further to 28.1 percent.

  FAO has also made its first forecast for world cereal trade in the new season, with a rise of just 3 percent in 2021/22 relative to the 2020/21 high-water estimates. 2020/21 trade is expected to increase by 6.3 percent to a peak of 468 million tons.

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