The FAO Food Price Index rose sharply in March, up 4.8 points, or 2.3 percent, to an average of 212.8, the highest level since May 2013.
The Index, based on the prices of a basket of internationally-traded food commodities, saw prices increase in all groups except dairy, which fell for the first time in four months (-2.5 percent). The greatest gains were seen in sugar (+7.9 percent) and cereals (+5.2 percent).
The FAO Cereal Price Index averaged 205.8 points in March, up as much as 10 points from February. Wheat and maize prices surged and imports were strong amid concerns over the effects of dry weather conditions on winter wheat in the United States, unfavourable weather in Brazil, and tensions in the Black Sea region.
While in March the Index rose to its highest value since August 2013, it remained well below (34.6 points or 14.4 percent) its value in March 2013. Rice prices were generally stable.
The FAO Meat Price Index averaged 185 points in March, up 2.7 points. Once again, weather came into play as higher beef prices were associated with dry weather conditions affecting production in both Australia and the United States. Pork also rose, in part on concerns over the effect of the Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus on export supplies in the United States.
Thursday April 3, 2014/ FAO.