The average price index of the United Nations food organization increased last year to its highest level ever as the disruption brought on by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine sparked concerns about shortages.
The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said on Friday that the food price index, which analyses the prices of the most widely traded food items on a global scale, averaged 143.7 points in 2022, a 14.3% increase from 2021 and the highest level since records began in 1990.
As the global economy recovered from the pandemic’s effects in 2021, the index had already increased by 28 percent from the year before.
Food prices surged after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February last year on fears of disruptions to Black Sea trade. They have pared some of their gains since, in part because of an UN-backed grain export channel from Ukraine and the prospect of improved supplies in producing countries.
In comparison to a revised 135.00 points for November, the benchmark index dropped to 132.4 points in December for the ninth straight month. The previous estimate for November was 135.7 points.
After two years of extreme instability, lower food commodity prices are welcome, according to FAO Chief Economist Maximo Torero.
The decrease in the index in December was caused by a drop in the price of vegetable oils on the world market, along with small decreases in grain and meat prices, but was somewhat offset by slight increases in sugar and dairy prices, according to the FAO.
While sugar was at a 10-year high, four of the FAO’s five food sub-indices — cereals, meat, dairy, and vegetable oils — had hit record highs throughout the course of 2022.
The FAO Cereal Price Index index rose 17.9pc in 2022 due to factors including significant market disruptions, higher energy and input costs, adverse weather and continued strong global food demand, the FAO said.