Figures from the FAO Food Index, released in May, have shown a surge in soybean prices, with “growing concern” about this season’s exceptionally tight supplies of soybeans and derived products, particularly in the US and South America. It said that global soybean production is estimated to decrease by almost 10%.
Global maize quotations declined by 2.5%, reflecting good production prospects, while wheat prices fell slightly, by just over 1%. There was a slight rise in meat prices, up 1% from last month, to a new record of 182 points. The FAO attributed this increase to rising quotations of all meats except sheepmeat. Pig meat prices rose the most, followed by beef and poultry. Average meat prices in the first four months of 2012 were 3.5% higher than the same period last year, with beef showing the strongest gains as a result of continued tight export supplies and brisk import demand.
The report said that, overall, trade in meat is expected to expand by 2%, to 29.2m tonnes, which is largely anticipated to be taken up by developing country exporters, which could increase their share of the global trade to 44%.
It warned that global beef production is forecast to stagnate at 67.5m tonnes in 2012, but that indications of slowing import demand, especially for pig and poultry meats, could result in a moderation of meat prices in the coming months.
“Along with high feed costs, this is raising concern about the profitability of the meat sector in 2012,” it said.