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Global Food Prices Remain Stable at Two-Year Low on Decreased Oilseed Costs

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Global Food Prices Stabilize at Two-Year Low on Decreased Oilseed Costs

Global food prices have reached a steady point, remaining at the lowest level in over two years. This stabilization is attributed to improved supplies of oilseeds and certain grains, which have offset sugar shortages. According to the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization, a gauge of food-commodity costs showed little change in September. The decline from the record high set in March 2022 is expected to eventually alleviate grocery inflation, which has been a concern since Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Some countries are already experiencing signs of this easing. Cheaper vegetable oils, such as sunflowers in the Black Sea region and palm crops in Southeast Asia, have played a significant role in driving down prices this year. Prices dropped nearly 4% in September as a result. Although grain prices saw a slight increase, they remain lower overall due to Russia's consecutive bumper wheat harvests, which have helped maintain global supplies. Additionally, Asian rice prices have retreated from a 15-year high, thanks to improved crop prospects in Thailand and efforts to mitigate the impact of Indian export restrictions. However, sugar futures reached their highest level in over a decade last month. India's low monsoon rainfall in five years has raised concerns about potential restrictions on sugar exports to control local prices ahead of next year's national election. On the other hand, dairy and meat prices declined in the past month, according to the FAO. It is important to note that the impact of lower food-commodity prices may take time to be reflected in supermarket prices, as retailers continue to grapple with high energy and labor expenses. While retail food prices in Britain fell for the first time in over two years in September, costs have continued to rise in other nations, including Turkey and Kenya. In conclusion, global food prices have stabilized at a two-year low due to improved supplies of oilseeds and certain grains. Cheaper vegetable oils have been a significant factor in driving down prices, while sugar futures reached a decade-high. The impact of these price changes on supermarket prices may take time to materialize, as retailers face other cost pressures.

Implications of Global Food Price Stabilization for New Businesses

The recent stabilization of global food prices at a two-year low could have significant implications for new businesses, particularly those in the food and agriculture sector. The decrease in prices, driven by improved supplies of oilseeds and certain grains, might provide a cost advantage for businesses that rely on these commodities.

Opportunities and Challenges

The lower cost of commodities like vegetable oils could reduce production costs for food manufacturers, potentially increasing their profit margins. However, the high sugar futures, driven by India's low monsoon rainfall, could pose challenges for businesses that heavily rely on sugar.

Impact on Retailers

For retailers, the impact of these price changes may take time to materialize due to high energy and labor expenses. While some countries like Britain have seen a fall in retail food prices, others like Turkey and Kenya have seen a rise. This disparity could impact new businesses operating in different geographical markets. In conclusion, the stabilization of global food prices presents both opportunities and challenges for new businesses. It underscores the need for businesses to closely monitor commodity price trends and adjust their strategies accordingly. They must also consider other cost pressures, such as energy and labor expenses, in their financial planning.
Story First Published at: https://financialpost.com/pmn/business-pmn/global-food-prices-steady-at-two-year-low-on-cheaper-oilseeds
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