Cheese and maize increase May food prices

Increased prices of cheese and maize following bad weather has seen world food prices rise for a fifth consecutive month in May said the United Nations food agency on Thursday.

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According to a warning by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), a sharp fall expected in maize crop in the flood-battered United States had dampened in its previous forecast of bumper global cereal production in 2019.

FAO’s food price index, which measures monthly changes for a basket of cereals, oilseeds, dairy products, meat and sugar, averaged 172.4. points last month against 170.3 points in April – its highest level since last June, states an Eyewitness News report.

From Aprils value, FAO dairy price index jumped 5.2% nearing a five-year high, with cheese helping to boost the index.

After the planting of maize crops in the US took off at its slowest pace ever recorded due to widespread flooding and rain, FAO cereal price index rose 1.4% due to a sudden flow in maize price quotations.

However, for the month, the sugar index fell 3.2% with the vegetable price index also dropping by 1.1%.

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FAO predicted world cereal production would come in at 2.685 billion tonnes in its second forecast for 2019 which is a depicted 2.722 billion tonnes drop from its previous forecast while displaying a 1.2% hike on 2028 levels.

“The year-on-year increase in global cereal production reflects expansions of wheat and barley production, while global rice output is likely to remain close to last year’s record level,” said FAO said.

“Worldwide maize output, however, is now seen to fall, with US production expected to shrink by 10% from the previous year amid a much-reduced pace of plantings due to unfavourable weather conditions.”

According to the new estimates for production and utilisation, its suggestions for the new seasons depict that world cereal stocks could decline by as much as 3% – a four-year low of 830 million tonnes.

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