According to the World Bank’s most recently published Food Price Watch Report, international food prices increased by 4% between January and April 2014, interrupting sustained declining trends in food prices observed since August 2012.
A sharp 4% monthly increase took place in February, followed by a more subdued increase in March and a price drop in April. As a result, internationally traded food prices remain in April 2014 only 2% lower than those observed a year ago. Prices remain in sight of their all-time peak in August 2012, some 16% below their historical record.
The prices of internationally traded grains and “other” foods increased 7% between January and April 2014. Prices of fats and oils decreased by 1% during the same period. Domestic prices of food generally stabilised across regions, marked by seasonal trends and availabilities from previous harvests. In some places, conflicts, public procurement policies, and transport costs had important effects on domestic prices.
International wheat prices soared by 18% between January and April 2014. Such a steep price increase had not occurred since the months leading to the historical peak in the summer of 2012.
Despite favourable prospects for cereals supplies, several uncertainties hang over the near future, some exerting upward pressures on prices, such as weather in the United States and, more globally, El Niño, and a hypothetical escalation of geopolitical tensions in Ukraine and others exerting downward pressures on export prices, such as the releases of public stockpiles of rice in Thailand.