FAO reports that its calendar 2018 food price index fell 3.5 percent from 2017. While the cereals index did rise 9.0 percent, it was the only component to make gains. Meat fell 2.2 percent; dairy, 2.6 percent; oils, 14.7 percent; and sugar, 21.9 percent. All the indexes are down from the highs seen in 2011, ranging from down 9.2 percent for the meat price index to down 51.9 percent for the sugar price index.
This was the second straight down year for the sugar index, which fell 11.2 percent in 2017 after climbing a very strong 34.2 percent in 2016.
Monthly figures show that while meat and dairy made some gains early in 2018, all sub-indexes except for grains saw declines in the second half of the year.
(Note: The above figures were not adjusted for inflation: The deflated or “real” price index, for example, shows that the food price index fell 2.8 percent in 2018 vs. the nominal 3.5 percent noted above. The indexes are reported as a ratio of current prices relative to the average pricing from 2002 through 2004.)
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