Global food prices rose at their fastest monthly rate in more than a decade in May, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has reported.
The FAO Food Price Index averaged 107.5 points in December, 2.2% higher than in November.
Over the whole of 2020, the benchmark index, which tracks monthly changes in the international prices of commonly traded food commodities, averaged 97.9 points, a three-year high and a 3.1% increase from 2019.
The FAO Dairy Price Index increased 3.2% in December, marking its seventh consecutive monthly rise.
The FAO attributes this to a strong global import demand stimulated by concerns over drier and warmer conditions on Oceania's milk production as well as high internal demand in Western Europe.
Over the course of 2020, the Dairy Price Index averaged 1.0% lower than in 2019.
The FAO Meat Price Index increased 1.7% in December, while its full-year average was 4.5% below that of 2019.
Poultry meat quotations rebounded, buoyed by increased import demand out of regions like the Middle East, high internal sales in key producing countries and the adverse impact of avian influenza outbreaks in Europe.
Pig meat prices fell slightly, influenced by the suspension of German exports to Asian markets as a result of African Swine Fever outbreaks.
The FAO Vegetable Oil Price Index gained 4.7% in December to reach its highest level since September 2012.
In addition to ongoing supply tightness in major palm oil producing countries, international trade was affected by a sharp hike in export duties in Indonesia.
International prices for soy oil rose in part due to prolonged strikes in Argentina that impacted both crushing activity and port logistics.
The FAO Cereal Price Index rose 1.1% from November and for all of 2020 averaged 6.6% above the level of 2019.
Export prices for wheat, maize, sorghum and rice all rose in December, moving higher in part due to concerns over growing conditions and crop prospects in North and South America as well as Russia.
On an annual basis, rice export prices were 8.6% higher in 2020 than in 2019.
The FAO Sugar Price Index declined 0.6% in December after a marked increase during the previous month.
For 2020 as a whole, the sub-index was 1.1% higher than in 2019, reflecting a large surge in imports by China and increased demand for refined sugar from Indonesia's food and beverage industry.