World food prices hit record high in 2022
According to a report by Agence France-Presse on January 6, data released by the United Nations on the 6th showed that world food prices fell for the ninth consecutive month in December 2022, but 2022 set a record for the highest price level for the whole year.
In March 2022, food prices soared to record monthly highs after Russia sent troops to agricultural powerhouse Ukraine. Ukraine is a major supplier of wheat and edible oil to the world.
But prices have eased since then, further eased by a July agreement brokered by Turkey and the United Nations that lifted a Russian naval blockade on Ukrainian grain exports.
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations said on the 6th that the agency's price index, which tracks monthly changes in the international price of a basket of grains, fell to 132.4 points in December 2022, a month-on-month decrease of 1.9%. This figure is also down 1% from December 2021.
But the index is overall 14.3% higher in 2022 than the previous year, reaching an all-time high of 143.7 points.
"After two very turbulent years, we are finally at a point where food prices are stabilizing," FAO Chief Economist Maximo Torero said in a statement.
"Given that world food prices remain high, we must remain vigilant and give high priority to alleviating global food insecurity," he said.
With prices of many staple grains near record highs and rice prices still rising, "there are still many risks to future supply," Torero said.
According to FAO data, world maize prices in 2022 will increase by an average of 24.8% compared to 2021. Wheat prices rose 15.6%.
The decline in corn prices in December 2022 is mainly due to "strong competition" from Brazil, according to the FAO.
Wheat prices also fell during the month "as supplies increase during the harvest season in the southern hemisphere and competition among exporters remains intense".
The FAO Vegetable Oil Price Index hit a new high in 2022, but fell 6.7% month-on-month in December to its lowest level since February 2021.
Dairy and meat prices hit their highest levels since 1990, the agency said. Meat prices fell 1.2% in December 2022, while dairy prices rose 1.1% for the month.