|No.3 July 2009|
|Crop Prospects and Food Situation|
Earlier this year FAO GIEWS launched the National basic food price data and analysis tool 1 as part of the FAO Initiative on Soaring Food Prices (ISFP) to assist in the monitoring and analysis of domestic food price trends in developing countries. The database covers about 800 monthly domestic retail/wholesale price series of major foods 2 consumed in 58 developing countries, and international cereal export prices.
An analysis of the data contained in the database as of early July 2009 shows that domestic prices in developing countries remain generally very high and in some cases are still at record levels. Out of the 780 domestic price quotations (nominal, in local currencies) for all food commodities included in the database, the most recent quotation 3 is the same or higher than in the pre-food price crisis period of 24 months earlier in 94 percent of the cases. Moreover, in 71 percent of these cases, the latest quotations are higher than 24 months earlier by more than 25 percent, indicating that even after largely allowing for inflation over the past two years, basic food prices remain relatively high. In 46 percent of the cases, latest quotations are higher than 3 months earlier, while in 13 percent of the cases, latest price quotations are the highest on record. This is in sharp contrast with developments in international food markets, where prices of all cereals have fallen sharply since their peaks of the first-half of 2008 and are now, with the exception of rice, lower or around the level before the food prices crisis.
For cereals (70 percent of the quotations in the database), and the most important staple food in developing countries, the situation is quite similar with latest nominal domestic price quotations more than 25 percent higher than in the pre-crisis period in 77 percent of the price series covered in the database and higher than 3 months earlier in 43 percent of the cases. In 12 percent of the cases, latest cereal prices available in GIEWS by late June were the highest on record.
A more detailed analysis by region and main cereals is presented in the figure below. In the sub-Saharan countries in Africa in more than 80 percent of all the local price series analyzed in 27 countries, latest prices are more than 25 percent higher than 24 months earlier. In Asia and Latin America and the Caribbean, prices are monitored in a total of 31 countries and according to cereal type, from 40 to 80 percent of the prices remain more than 25 percent higher than in the pre-food crisis period.
In contrast with trends in domestic food prices, international cereal export prices, in spite of some fluctuations in recent months, are lower or marginal higher than in 2007. Latest (first week of July average) maize export prices are 1 percent above the level of 24 months earlier, while for sorghum, and wheat export prices are respectively 10 percent, and 9 lower than 18 months earlier and between 47 and 53 percent below their 2008 peaks. Rice export prices, while having fallen from their 2008 peaks by 39 percent, they were by early July still 75 percent above the pre food-crisis level mainly reflecting governments’ interventions in some major rice exporting countries.
2. About 70 percent of the quotations in the database are for cereals and cereal products with the remaining 30 percent represented by beans, potatoes, cassava and some animal products
3. The most recent price quotation refers, with few exceptions, to the period between March and June 2009
|GIEWS||global information and early warning system on food and agriculture|