At the beginning of each month, the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) releases a series of price indices for a variety of food commodities (here). The headline FAO Food Price Index is a composite of five food groupings: meat, dairy, cereals, oils and fats and sugar. The base 100 is the indexed averaged price for the 2002-2004 period. The April 2013 index number was released on May 9th. Key points are as follows:
- The FAO Food Price Index averaged 215.5 for April 2013, up from 213.2 the previous month
- The index was up 2.4 points from the 213.1 recorded in April 2012, or 1.1 in percentage terms
- In inflation adjusted terms, the Food Price Index stood at 143.1 for April 2013 against the 2002-2004 base of 100
The nominal and real price indices have followed a trajectory not dissimilar to the global oil price (click chart for larger image). Here is food:
And here is oil:
As in March, the main driver behind the upward movement in the overall index is the Dairy component. The Dairy Price Index rose 14.9% in April over the previous month and is up 39.4% from April 2012. The principal cause for this surge has been the drought in New Zealand; NASA has two images comparing April 2013 with April 2009, a normal year, here. The drought has now broken, but the after-effects are still being felt. The sub-indices are available from the FAO here.