At the beginning of each month, the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) releases a series of price indices for a variety of food commodities (here). The headline FAO Food Price Index is a composite of five food groupings: meat, dairy, cereals, oils and fats and sugar. The base 100 is the indexed averaged price for the 2002-2004 period. The May 2013 index number was released on June 6th. Key points are as follows:
- The FAO Food Price Index averaged 215.2 for May 2013, down marginally from 215.8 the previous month
- The index was up 10.4 points from the 204.8 recorded in May 2012, or 5.1 in percentage terms
- In inflation adjusted terms, the Food Price Index stood at 142.9 for May 2013 against the 2002-2004 base of 100
The nominal and real price indices have followed a trajectory not dissimilar to the global oil price (click chart for larger image). Here is food:
And here is oil:
The drought in New Zealand has now broken, allowing the dairy component of the index to fall slightly from the April peak. The trend in diary prices, however, was offset by a small increase in the cereal price index. The sub-indices are available from the FAO here.