ROME — World food commodity prices fell in May, dragged lower by declines in the vegetable oil, dairy and sugar price indices, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) said on June 3.

The FAO Food Price Index averaged 157.4 points in May 2022, down 0.6% from April, its second straight monthly decline. The Index, which tracks monthly changes in the international prices of a basket of commonly traded food commodities, remained 22.8% higher than in May 2021.

The FAO Vegetable Oil Price Index decreased by 3.5% in May, reflecting lower prices across palm, sunflower, soy and rapeseed oils. The FAO said the removal of Indonesia’s short-lived export ban on palm oil exerted additional downward pressure on prices.

FAO_graph_1_jun369.jpg“Export restrictions create market uncertainty and can result in price spikes and increased price volatility; the decrease in oilseeds prices shows how important it is when they are removed and let exports flow smoothly,” said Máximo Torero Cullen, chief economist of the FAO.

The FAO Cereal Price Index increased by 2.2 points in May, led by a fourth consecutive month of higher wheat prices. The FAO attributed the steep increase in wheat prices to an export ban in India amidst concerns over crop conditions in several leading exporting countries, as well as reduced production prospects in Ukraine because of the war with Russia.

International rice prices increased for a fifth consecutive month, buoyed by strength in all the major market segments.

World sorghum prices declined in May by 3.1%.

The FAO Meat Price Index increased by 0.5% from the previous month, setting a new record high, as prices rose for poultry meat. Poultry meat prices were affected by the continued supply chain disruptions in Ukraine and recent cases of avian influenza amid a surge in demand in Europe and the Middle East.