The meeting said that “Global cereal supply and demand still appears sufficiently in balance”, adding, “unexpected crop failure in some major exporting countries followed by national policy responses and speculative behaviour rather than global market fundamentals have been the main factors behind the recent escalation of world prices and the prevailing high price volatility.”
The Groups therefore recommended exploring “alternative approaches to mitigating food price volatility” and “new mechanisms to enhance transparency and manage the risks associated with new sources of market volatility”.
Data on the most recent grains price increases was contained in FAO’s quarterly report on the cereals supply and demand outlook, Crop Prospects and Food Situation. It forecast 2010 global cereal production at 2 239 million tonnes, only one percent lower than last year and the third largest crop on record. Reduced output of grains in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) countries accounted for most of the decline.
In contrast with the steep increases in wheat (by 60-80 percent) and maize (by 40 percent) prices, the report said rice prices rose by only seven percent from July to September. But even at these higher levels cereal prices were still one third below their peaks in 2008, FAO noted.
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