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The Market Monitor - Trends and impacts of staple food prices in vulnerable countries, Issue 34 - January 2017


This bulletin examines trends in staple food and fuel prices, the cost of the basic food basket and consumer price indices for 71 countries in the fourth quarter of 2016 (October to December).1 The maps on pages 6–7 disaggregate the impact analysis to sub-national level.

Global Highlights

• In Q4-2016, FAO’s global cereal price index fell a further 8 percent year-on-year as favourable growing conditions boosted global cereal production and global stocks. However, the FAO global food price index has risen 11 percent since 2015 because of large increases in international prices for sugar, dairy products and vegetable oils.

• The real price2 of wheat continued falling and was 26 percent below last year’s level. Global wheat production increased beyond projections for 2016 and endof-season inventories estimated record-level closing stocks in most producing areas.

• The real price of maize was down 11 percent from the same period in 2015 and is still at 2006 levels. Abundant and record global stocks have resulted from production outpacing consumption.

• In Q4-2016, the real price of rice fell by 11 percent from Q3 down to levels last seen at the end of 2015. This is thanks to improved crop supplies and reduced buying interest.

• The real price of crude oil increased by nearly 10 percent from the previous quarter and by 13 percent from 2015 in reaction to the forecast shrinking of global oil production and trade in 2017.

• The cost of the basic food basket increased severely (>10%) in Q4-2016 in seven countries: Algeria, Bangladesh, Burundi, Egypt, Ethiopia, Myanmar and Rwanda. High increases (5–10%) were seen in Bolivia, north Nigeria, Peru, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Turkey, Uganda and Yemen. In the other monitored countries, the change was moderate or low (<5%).

• Price spikes, as monitored by ALPS, were detected in 25 countries, particularly in Ghana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, Tanzania and Zambia (see the map below).3 These spikes indicate crisis levels for the two most important staples in each country, which could be beans, cassava, maize, milk, millet, oil, rice, sorghum, sweet potatoes, sugar or wheat.