Food prices update September 2012
*Little change to estimates of cereals harvests
Maize and wheat prices remain high, but may have peaked*
Estimates of cereal harvests have changed little from August to September. Further cuts to estimates of the already bad US maize harvest have been quite small.
Hence the sharp price rises seen in the maize and wheat markets in July have probably reached their limit — even if at more than US$320 a tonne for maize, US$365 a tonne for wheat, prices are high.
With maize stocks very low indeed, there is no room for additional harvest failures.
Attention thus now turns to the main Southern Hemisphere crop season that starts from November onwards. Early warnings of an El Niño for late 2012, early 2013 are worrying: it is not yet clear, however, how intense the warming of Pacific equatorial waters will be.