This edition of Food Outlook launches the new FAO Export Price Index for Rice (1998-2000=100). The previous index employed the Laspeyres formula, under which prices were weighted according to their importance in global trade in the base period (1982-84=100). Until recently, this index was considered to provide a satisfactory measure of relative movements in export prices. However, important changes in the structure of international trade have taken place, including major shifts in the market shares of different exporters and in the types of rice traded. In addition several new rice exporters have emerged on the global arena. While the new rice price index takes stock of these market developments, it also gives consideration to some theoretical advances in the treatment of index numbers.
A more detailed description of the new index will be available in the October issue of the FAO “Rice Market Monitor” (http://www.fao.org/es/ESC/esce/escb/rice/monitore/ricemone.htm) and a complete exposition will be published in the forthcoming FAO “Review of Market Issues”. However, a summary of its main features is as follows: