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International food commodity prices dipped in October, as falling dairy, meat and vegetable oils prices more than offset a surge in sugar prices, according to the United Nations.

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Food Price Index, a measure of the monthly change in international prices of a basket of food commodities, averaged 163,5 points in October, down 0,9% from September and 7,4% below its level a year earlier.

The FAO Dairy Price Index led the overall decline, slipping 4,8% from the previous month and 34% below the peak reached in February 2014. The weaker prices reflect increased export supplies across all major dairy products, especially from New Zealand.

The FAO Meat Price Index declined 2,0% from September, with ovine, pig, bovine and poultry meat all posting drops due mostly to abundant export supplies.

The FAO Vegetable Oil Price Index fell by 1,5%, its ninth consecutive monthly drop, to reach its lowest level since April 2009. The latest slide was mostly driven by sluggish global import demand for palm oil and large inventories held by the commodity’s major exporting countries. International soya oil prices increased slightly. 


Last week, the South African Weather Service noted that ‘the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) is still in a neutral phase and although most models indicate a strong strengthening towards an El Niño phase in the early summer season, it is not expected to have an influence on South Africa during the first half of summer.’


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