The FAO Meat Price Index has been revised to better reflect the structure of world trade in meat products. Changes were made to the price indices of the three main meat categories, namely bovine, poultry and pig meat, while the ovine meat index remained unaltered. The revisions mainly entailed the introduction or elimination of particular price series and/or a modification of their relative weights within the indices.
The revised Bovine Meat Price Index generally yielded higher values and wider fluctuations than the original one. It also showed that beef prices in January 2011 had surpassed the record reached in September 2008.
The new international Pig Meat Price Index is more volatile than the old one and resulted in a much more pronounced surge in mid-2008 and, subsequently, a sharper fall during the financial crisis. Under the new index, pig prices in January 2011 still fall short of the peaks reached during the 2007/08 soaring food price episode.
The revisions did not affect much the Poultry Meat Price Index, although they resulted in slightly higher values in the most recent years. The new index also shows that, despite a strong rise in late 2010, poultry prices in January 2011 are still below the late 2008 record.
Following the changes in the bovine, pork and poultry meat price indices, the Meat Price Index yields higher values than the original one, especially from 2005 onwards, and wider fluctuations. In January 2011, the index value was still below the peak reached in August 2008.
The shift to the revised Meat Price Index did not alter much the pattern of the overall FAO Food Price Index, although boosting its value, especially since mid-2005.