Global food prices declined again in January 2015, but dairy prices leveled off after falling most of last year, according to the latest United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Food Price Index.

The January 2015 FAO Dairy Price Index was virtually unchanged from December. The FAO Dairy Price Index includes global average prices for butter, cheese, and skim milk and whole milk powders.

A decline in prices for cheese and skimmed milk powder was counterbalanced by a rise in the price of butter, while whole milk powder was unchanged. The fall in the value of the Euro has caused export quotations from Europe to converge with offerings from Oceania and the United States. The arrival of new supplies to the world market is being tempered by dry weather in Oceania, which is leading to an accelerated decline in seasonal milk production, while output in the European Union as a whole has been curbed to avoid over-quota levies, as the April-March quota year draws to a close.

The FAO Food Price Index is a measure of the monthly change in international prices of a basket of five food commodities – cereal, vegetable oil, dairy, meat and sugar. Overall, the FAO Food Price Index was down 1.9% from December, and has fallen every month since April 2014.

Looking at other commodities:

• The January 2015 FAO Meat Price Index was down 1.6% from December. Falling currency exchange rates relative to the United States dollar, especially the Euro, were partly responsible for the decline.

• Cereals were down 3.6% from December.

• Sugar was virtually unchanged.

• Vegetable oils were down 2.9%.

Source: United Nations’ Food & Agriculture Organization