ROME – Most likely driven from fear caused by COVID-19 (coronavirus), world food prices declined in February for the first time in four months. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United National (FAO) Food Price Index averaged at 180.5 points in February, down 1% from January.  

Contributing to the overall price drop, the FAO Meat Price Index was down by 2%, influenced by reduced imports from Asia and drought-induced slaughter in New Zealand. Wheat prices were also down due to well-supplied markets, which resulted in a 0.9% drop in the FAO Cereal Price Index. The FAO Vegetable Oil Index declined 10.3%. 

Dairy prices, however, are on still on the rise with the FAO Dairy Price Index up 4.6% from January. This was led by heightened price quotations for cheese and partly linked to reduced milk output in Australia. Milk powders did see a decline due to China being the world’s larger milk powder importer.