Global food commodity prices rose month-on-month in March after a seven-month run of declines, according to the latest data from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

The FAO’s food price index, which tracks monthly changes in the international prices of a set of globally-traded food commodities, increased 1.1% in March, compared to February, reaching 118.3 points.

Rising international prices of vegetable oils, dairy products and meat pushed the index towards its first increase in seven months, the FAO said.

The index fell year on year, falling down 7.7% from its corresponding value one year ago.

The FAO Vegetable Oil Price Index rose 8% compared to February, reaching a one-year high. The price of palm, soy, sunflower and rapeseed oils all increased.

“International palm oil prices increased due to seasonally lower outputs in leading producing countries and firm domestic demand in Southeast Asia, while those for soy oil recovered from multi-year lows, boosted by robust demand from the biofuel sector, particularly in Brazil and the United States of America,” the FAO said in a statement.

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The global price of dairy increased for the sixth consecutive month, climbing 2.9% from February, led by rising world cheese and butter prices.

The FAO meat price index increased 1.7%, with international prices up for poultry, pig and beef.

By contrast, the UN body reported a 2.6% decline in cereal prices, which represented an average of 20% below the March 2023 value.

The drop was led by decreasing global wheat export prices amid strong export competition among the EU, Russia and the US. It was additionally supported by purchases being cancelled by China.

Maize export prices showed an upward tendency in March, partly due to logistical difficulties in Ukraine, while the FAO all-rice price index dipped by 1.7% due to low demand.

The organisation reported a 5.4% decline in sugar prices in March compared to February.

In a separate report on cereal supply and demand, the FAO increased its forecast on cereal production in 2023/34 to 2.84bn tonnes due to expectations of greater outputs of maize, rice and wheat.