Food Prices Fall as Abundant Stockpiles Cut Grain, Dairy Costs

  • After two months of gains, prices slid 1.6% in November
  • Grain, meat, dairy and vegetable oil prices fell last month

Global food prices resumed their march lower last month as big stockpiles and the strengthening dollar led to declines in grains, dairy, meat and vegetable oils.

An index of 73 food prices fell 1.6 percent in November, the United Nations Food & Agriculture Organization wrote in a report Thursday. Prices had climbed in the previous two months, raising speculation that bad weather from El Nino was driving up costs for milk, sugar and palm oil.

Food prices have fallen 18 percent in the past year as farmers harvested bumper crops worldwide and demand slowed for some meat and dairy products. Sugar was the only major commodity in the FAO’s index that saw higher prices last month, with costs climbing 4.6 percent, according to the report.

All other sectors saw declines, led by a 3.1 percent drop for vegetable oils and a 2.9 percent slide in dairy.

Grains also fell, even as the FAO lowered its outlook for production this season. Global output was pegged at 2.527 billion metric tons, slightly lower than last month’s forecast of 2.53 billion tons. Prospects have deteriorated for China’s corn crop because of dry weather, according to the report.

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