The average price of meat around the world has increased by 10% in the six months to June this year, while other commodity food groups have been more volatile, with sugar prices noticeably down.
The meat price index now stands at 175.2 points, which has increased marginally from May’s price of 172. But since January this year the FAO’s meat price index has increased from 158.8 points – a rise of 10%.
Limited red meat export supplies in Australia and New Zealand, coupled with strong buying interest, underpinned beef and lamb prices in June. Continued strong important demand in Asia supported meat prices too, which increased by the highest amount.
Bird flu hits poultry price
Beef prices increased by the second-largest amount and the FAO’s senior economist Upali Wickramasinghe explained why beef prices have increased: “In Australia, the national cattle herd is in a rebuilding phase, limiting export supplies at the moment.
“In the US, a major producer as well as a consumer of beef, cow meat supplies are often lower at this time of the year, and in some producing regions in the US, good pasture conditions appear to have incentivised farmers to keep cattle a little longer for feeding.
“Limited export availabilities from Australia and New Zealand, along with lower domestic supplies, meant there was a limited spot availability in the market. At the same time, shipments from Brazil remain limited due to delisting of some processing plants.”
Poultry was the worst-affected protein category in Jun. Prices were hit by concerns over the spread of avian influenza (AI), which has led to hundreds of thousands of chickens being culled in Africa, Asia and Europe.
The FAO’s Food Price Index is a monthly trade-weighted guide, tracking the market prices for five major commodity food groups: meat, dairy, wheat, vegetable oil and sugar.
Global commodity food prices were pushed up last month by an increase in both wheat and meat prices. The index averaged 175.2 points in June, up by around 1% from the previous month and 7% year-on-year.
Meat prices are based on two poultry products, three beef, three pork, and one lamb meat product.