Prices for most agricultural commodities are at their highest level since November 2014, with dairy, meat and cereals all up according to a new report from the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).

Figures reached their highest level in December 2020, with all sub-indices, bar sugar, registered on the FAO Food Price Index (FFPI) showing modest gains. Vegetable oil showed the highest rise, followed by that of dairy, meat and cereals.

Global meat prices rose by 2% in December, to end 2020 at the highest point since June. However, price trends varied between the main categories. Poultry rebounded due to strong import demand from the Middle East, high domestic sales in key producing countries, and avian influenza outbreaks in Europe affecting production.

Beef and sheep meat quotations increased, mostly due to tight supplies from Australia and New Zealand. In contrast, pig meat prices fell slightly, influenced by the ongoing suspension of German shipments into China.

Cereals prices were the highest since mid-2014 in December. Prices have been rising for six months on the back of tighter supplies and stronger demand.

Vegetable oil prices increased to the highest level in December since September 2012, driven by firming palm oil values, while those of soya, rapeseed and sunflower seed oil also improved.

Dairy values also rose in December, reaching the highest level since mid-2018. Strong global import demand was mostly influenced by concerns over the outlook for Oceania’s milk production supporting prices.