Data Watch: FAO Food Price Index for June 2013

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 June 2013 index number was released on July 4th. Key points are as follows:

  • The FAO Food Price Index averaged 211.3 for June 2013, down 1.9 points from the revised value of 213.2 for May
  • The index was up 10.8 points from the 200.5 recorded in June 2012, or 5.4 percent
  • In inflation adjusted terms, the Food Price Index stood at 140.3 for June 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:

FAO Food Price Index June 2013 jpeg

And here is oil (click for larger image):

Spot Oil Prices June 2013 jpeg

The drought in New Zealand has now broken, allowing the dairy component of the index to fall significantly from the April peak. Sugar prices also fell over the month. The sub-indices can be found here.

4 responses to “Data Watch: FAO Food Price Index for June 2013

  1. Matthew Nayler

    I’ve never really got my mind around the close link between food and other commodity prices (surely supply response times are so different?) but the projected continued rise in oil prices + population growth of poor urbanites (effectively all of projected world population growth) + their massive underemployment + supposed food ‘answers’ look to be all higher-cost food = a grim equation.

  2. I think what the two charts are capturing is China moving from basic self-sufficiency in food and oil to a position of major dependency on global markets. As climate change enters the equation with a greater weight in coming decades, I would expect a lot more deviation between oil and food.

  3. Matthew Nayler

    Lester Brown in ‘Full Planet Empty Plates’ makes the point that China has been keen to be self-sufficient in grains so its main impact on world food markets has been as an importer of soybeens (partly as pig feed – apparently nearly half the world’s pigs are in China). David Hendrickson’s blog ‘Energy Predicament’ has some interesting charts – I don’t see him on your ‘following’ list (apologies if he’s there somewhere), but worth a look (eg ‘food price vs oil price’ and ‘leading world exporters of corn’).

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