Strong demand looks set to support world food prices in 2018 although the political situation in oil-producing countries and international trade negotiations may herald more volatility, a United Nations food agency economist said on Thursday.
World food prices rose 8.2 percent in 2017 from the previous year, reaching their highest annual value since 2014, on an index compiled by The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). Food on international markets is still 24 percent cheaper than its 2011 high, and supplies of many commodities in the index of cereals, oilseeds, dairy products, meat and sugar, remain ample.
“The general sentiment is that we know what supplies are, and there is no excuse to think demand would get weak ... so there is momentum being built,” said FAO senior economist Abdolreza Abbassian.
The index rose annually despite a 3.3 percent fall in December from the month before, as dairy, vegetable oils and sugar values declined sharply.