Global food prices drop in April amid pandemic: UN

ISTANBUL – Global food prices fell for the third consecutive month in April, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said on Thursday.

Food prices decreased 3.4 percent on a monthly basis, averaging 165.5 points, while it decreased 3 percent on an annual basis, the FAO said.

Sugar prices hit the 13-year low level in April, dropping 14.6 percent from the previous month.

"Collapsing international crude oil prices reduced demand for sugarcane to produce ethanol, diverting output to producing sugar and hence expanding export availabilities," the FAO said.

Vegetable oil prices decreased by 5.2 percent from the previous month, "driven lower by falling palm, soy, and rapeseed oil values."

Crude oil prices also affected vegetable oil by reducing biofuel demand globally, the UN agency noted.

In April, dairy and meat prices were both down by 3.6 percent and 2.7 percent, respectively.

Due to the measures against the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic, such as restricting borders, limiting foreign trade and closing restaurants, dairy and meat prices were affected, the FAO expressed.

"The FAO Cereal Price Index declined only marginally, as international prices of wheat and rice rose significantly while those of maize dropped sharply," it added.

International rice prices increased by 7.2 percent in April versus March, due to export restrictions by Vietnam.

The FAO Food Price Index is a trade-weighted index that tracks international market prices of five major food commodity groups.

After originating in China last December, Covid-19 has spread to at least 187 countries and regions. Europe and the US are currently the worst-hit regions.

The pandemic has killed more than 264,100 worldwide, with total infections nearing 3.77 million, while recoveries are close to 1.25 million, according to figures compiled by the US’ Johns Hopkins University. (Anadolu)