The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has published a global food price index for May which is 0.6% down on Apri – but that slight reduction is still 22.8% up on the average price of food this time last year. The drop in May was mostly due to declines in the vegetable oil and dairy price indices. Cereal and meat price indices increased.

The FAO Meat Price Index increased in May, up 0.5% from April, setting a new all-time high, driven by a steep rise in world poultry meat prices, more than offsetting declines in pig and sheep meat values. In May, poultry meat prices rose, reflecting the continued supply chain disruptions in Ukraine and recent cases of avian influenza amid a surge in demand in Europe and the Middle East.

Meanwhile, international beef prices remained stable, as increased supplies from Brazil and Australia/New Zealand were adequate to meet persistently high global demand.

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By contrast, world pig meat prices fell on high export availabilities, especially in Western Europe, amid lacklustre internal demand and expectations that stock might be released from the EU's Private Storage Aid scheme. International prices of sheep meat also dropped, reflecting the impact of currency movements.

The FAO Dairy Price Index fell 3.5% from April, marking the first decline after eight consecutive monthly increases, but still 16.9% higher than its level in May of last year.

World prices of all milk products fell, with milk powders declining the most, underpinned by lower buying interests on market uncertainties stemming from the continued lockdown in China, despite persistent global supply tightness. Butter prices also dropped significantly due to weaker import demand in tandem with some improvements to supplies from Australia/New Zealand and limited internal sales in Europe.

Meanwhile, robust retail sales and high demand from restaurants ahead of the summer holidays in the Northern Hemisphere prevented cheese prices from falling significantly, despite weakened global import demand.