Sustainable Development Goals

Indicator 2.c.1 - Indicator of (food) price anomalies

The proposed indicator of food price anomalies measures the number of "Price Anomalies" that occur on a given food commodity price series over a given period of time. This indicator will measure progress towards SDG Target 2.c.

Target 2.c

Adopt measures to ensure the proper functioning of food commodity markets and their derivatives and facilitate timely access to market information, including on food reserves, in order to help limit extreme food price volatility.

Indicator of food price anomalies

Impact

Detecting current and future trends in international food markets is essential for preventing potential crises. This indicator gives regular price information on a basket of goods to help ensure appropriate measures can be taken to offset hikes.

Key results

Globally, the number of countries afflicted by high food prices increased sharply in 2020.  

The global share of countries afflicted by high food prices – which had remained relatively stable since 2016 – rose sharply from 16 percent in 2019 to 47 percent in 2020, mainly due to trends in international markets. International prices of food items soared in the second half of 2020, following declines during the first five months of the year amid COVID-19-related stagnation in the food and non-food sectors. These price rises were caused by the increase in the international demand for cereals, vegetable oils and sugar and dairy products with the easing of COVID-19 related restrictive measures in some countries. The strong demand more than offset the abundant supplies from the 2020/21 record outputs of wheat, maize, rice and oilseed.  

In 2020, the proportion of countries experiencing abnormally and moderately high food prices was highest in Central and Southern Asia (67 percent) and lowest in Eastern and South-eastern Asia (33 percent). In Latin America and the Caribbean, which, together with land-locked developing countries (LLDCs), registered the highest proportion of countries experiencing abnormally high food prices, the share of countries afflicted by high prices rose by 31 percentage points year-on-year in 2020, reversing the declines in previous years. In Central and Southern Asia and Western Asia and Northern Africa, the market disruptions amid the COVID-19 pandemic further compounded pre-existing conditions, including reduced domestic availabilities of staple food and currency depreciations in some countries. In Oceania, price indices are only available for a handful of countries, making it difficult to draw conclusions about food price volatility at the regional level.  

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