Hard wheat prices experienced a third day of excessive volatility on August 8, according to the Food Security Portal’s Excessive Food Price Variability Early Warning System.

Photo Credit: Falk Lademann

The FAO Food Price Index fell sharply in July, the largest such decline since December 2017. The Index dropped by around 3.7 percent month-to-month from June, as well as 3.7 percent from its July 2017 levels. The decline is driven by reductions across all sub-indices.

The Cereal Price Index fell 3.6 percent from June and 0.8 percent from July 2017. The price of wheat, maize, and rice declined in June, although maize and wheat prices crept back up toward the end of the month due to concerns over production prospects.

The FAO Crop Prospects and Food Situation Report for the second quarter of 2018 reports that 39 countries are currently in need of food assistance. Thirty-one of those countries are in Africa, seven are in Asia, and one is in Latin America and the Caribbean. Persistent conflict remain the leading driver of these needs. In addition, weather shocks have also limited food access and availability in the affected countries, in some cases severely.

Rising trade tensions drove the FAO Food Price Index down slightly in June. The 1.3-percent decline represents the first month-to-month drop since the beginning of 2018.

The Cereal Price Index fell by 3.7 percent but remains almost 8 percent higher than its June 2017 level. In June, wheat and maize prices fell sharply as a result of trade tensions, despite poor production prospects in many areas. Rice prices, on the other hand, rose based on tight supplies for some varieties.

In May, the FAO Food Price Index reached its highest level since October 2017. This month’s increase was driven by dairy and cereal prices. The Index has risen continually in 2018.

Photo Credit: David Stanley

The FAO Food Price Index remained nearly unchanged in April; however, cereal and dairy prices continued to rise.

The Cereal Price Index rose 1.7 percent from March, reaching almost 16 percent higher than its April 2017 levels. This is the fourth consecutive month of such increases, which are being driven largely by weather-related fears for wheat and maize and government purchases in Indonesia and the Philippines for rice.

Photo Credit: PROEmilio Küffer

Global wheat and maize prices rose for the third consecutive month in March, according to the latest FPMA Bulletin from FAO. This increase brings prices more than 10 percent above their December 2017 levels.

Prolonged dry weather in the United States drove much of the price increases for wheat, as did concerns about cold and wet weather in some parts of Europe. Dry weather in Argentina contributed to maize price increases. Global demand for these commodities also remained strong in March, further driving up prices.

Photo Credit: GlobalDev

By Shenggen Fan
This piece was originally published on the GlobalDev blog.

The world’s urgent humanitarian assistance needs continued to grow in 2017, according to the 2018 Global Report on Food Crises. An estimated 124 million people across 51 countries currently face crisis-level or worse food insecurity, up from 104 million people across 48 countries in 2016.

Photo Credit: Jamed Falik/IFPRI

The world will continue to face major challenges from political and economic uncertainty, conflict, and climate change in 2018 and beyond, and the rising trend of anti-globalization in some developed countries could hamper the ability of policymakers to respond to these challenges. The result could be slowed progress toward the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and food and nutrition security, especially in developing countries.

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