International quotations for wheat, maize, vegetable oils and cheese have dropped significantly, while the prices of meat have risen last month, the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) has said.

Lower prices for dairy products, most cereals and vegetable oils led to a decline in the FAO Food Price Index, which tracks monthly changes in international food commodity prices, in May 2023.

The FAO Food Price Index averaged 124.3 points last month, which is down by 2.6% from April and as much as 22.1% below the all-time high reached in March 2022, the FAO said.

FAO Food Price Index

A steep drop in international cheese prices led to a 3.2% decline in the dairy price index. This was mainly due to ample export availabilities amid high milk production in the northern hemisphere.

However, international quotations for milk powders rebounded as did those for butter, the FAO Food Price Index for May 2023 shows.

Meat prices rose slightly by 1% last month, which was primarily driven by a steady high Asian import demand for poultry meat and persistent supply tightness for bovine meat in the US.

World maize quotations dropped by 9.8% due to a favourable production outlook along a low import demand. This saw the price index for cereal decline by 4.8% on the previous month.

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Ample supplies and the recently announced extension of the Black Sea Grain Initiative led to a decline in world wheat prices by 3.5%, according to the FAO.

Vegetable oil prices dropped by 8.7% in May, which averages 48.2% below last year’s level. Rapeseed and sunflower oil prices continued to decline on ample global supplies.

International palm oil prices fell markedly from April, while world soyoil prices fell for the sixth consecutive month, the Food Price Index for May 2023 shows.