Food Price Watch, September 2014: Prices Hit Four-Year Low; Preparing for the Next Food Price Crisis

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The September 2014 issue of Food Price Watch found that prices of internationally traded foods decreased by 6 percent between April and August 2014, reversing previously reported price increases. In this context of international food price decreases and relative domestic food price stability, the World Bank Group introduces a new integrated food price crisis monitoring tool, the Food Price Crisis Observatory.


Global food prices hit a four-year low as of August 2014, driven mainly by sharp decreases in the price of wheat, which went down 19 percent, and maize, which decreased 21 percent between April and August 2014. In contrast, rice prices actually increased 13% during the same period. Prospects for next year’s harvests and food stocks are strong. 

Domestic prices remained relatively stable, with notable exceptions across Central America and some parts of Western Africa, the latter partly associated with the Ebola Virus Disease. Prices in individual countries saw their typical variations, with large wheat price increases in monitored markets in Sudan and Ethiopia, and decreases in Argentina. Domestic maize prices decreased in monitored markets across Africa. Rice prices went up in Vietnam, Thailand, and India. 

" Such a sharp decline in international food prices is welcome, especially given the increases we’ve seen recently. However, as food prices continue to fluctuate and the most vulnerable are faced with new and growing concerns, it is essential to have the tools in place to act quickly if and when food price crises unfold. "

Ana Revenga

Senior Director, Poverty Global Practice, The World Bank Group

Against the backdrop of decreased global food prices and relatively stable domestic prices, the World Bank Group is introducing the Food Price Crisis Observatory, an interactive monitoring tool that makes critical knowledge accessible to anyone who is interested. Policymakers, civil society organizations, the private sector, academics, journalists, and interested citizens can easily track food prices and crises at the global, regional, and national levels; monitor food-related violence as it unfolds, and see what kinds of policies have and have not worked to prevent, mitigate, and cope with the effects of food price crises. 

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José Cuesta

Julie Barbet-Gros