(News Bulletin 247) – Raw material prices are at their highest in 13 years, due to the El Niño climatic phenomenon which is weighing on harvests in Thailand and India, according to the FAO.

World sugar prices reached their highest level in 13 years in September due to concerns over the impact of El Niño on harvests in Thailand and India, the United Nations said on Friday. Food and Agriculture (FAO).

The sugar price index calculated by the FAO climbed 9.8% over one month. This surge “is mainly due to the fact that there are growing fears of a tightening of global supply during the next campaign (2023-2024),” explains the agency in its monthly report.

Initial estimates suggest a drop in production in Thailand and India, two major producers, due to the El Niño weather phenomenon, specifies the FAO.

An increase also linked to the increase in oil

The organization also points to the recent rise in oil prices. A high price of black gold in fact encourages producers to transform part of their harvest into ethanol, which reduces the quantity of sugar on the market and raises prices.

According to the FAO, the jump in sugar prices was however limited by “the large volume of the harvest which is currently taking place in Brazil (the world’s largest producer, Editor’s note) in favorable weather conditions as well as (by) the weakening of the Brazilian real against the US dollar.

World food prices as a whole stabilized in September, with the decline in the prices of oils (-3.9%), dairy products (-2.3%) and meat (-1%) offsetting the rise in sugar and corn prices, the FAO said.

Foodstuffs on the decline

The FAO Food Price Index, which tracks the variation in international prices of a basket of basic products, is down 10.7% year-on-year and 24% compared to the March 2022 peak. , just after the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

The FAO cereal price index rose 1%, driven by the 7% rise in corn prices after seven months of decline. The reason, according to the agency: strong demand for the Brazilian harvest, slowed sales in Argentina and an increase in river freight prices in the United States due to the low level of the Mississippi River.

The FAO rice price index, which jumped to its highest level in 15 years in August, fell slightly (-0.5%) due to lower import demand.

(With AFP)