Food prices fall to near 5-year low in world, rise in Turkey

Food prices fall to near 5-year low in world, rise in Turkey

Food prices fall to near 5-year low in world, rise in Turkey

AFP Photo

The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization’s (FAO) price index, which measures monthly changes for a basket of cereal, oilseed, dairy, meat and sugar, averaged 171 points in April, 1.2 percent below its reading in March.

High global production, a strong U.S. dollar and cheaper crude oil have helped cap food prices for the past year and the index has been declining since April 2014.

Consumer price inflation in Turkey, however, rose more than expected in April, mainly due to the rise in food prices, according to official data released by the Turkish Statistical Institute (TÜİK) on May 4. 

The Consumer Price Index rose 1.63 percent from March, pushing the annual rate of inflation to 7.91 percent in April from 7.61 in March, according to a statement from the TÜİK. The highest annual increase was 14.36 percent in food and non-alcoholic beverages. 

The Turkish government has announced some measures can be taken to thwart the rise in food prices. 

Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci said food inflation of around 14 percent was due to speculators and forecasted it would fall, saying the government would take measures, including the possible derestriction of imports on certain food products.

He announced Turkey would free potato imports to decrease potato prices in the domestic market, as reported by Anadolu Agency on May 7. 

“There were incredibly speculative moves in the dried bean prices in 2014. As soon as we made a decision with the Ministry of Agriculture to free imports of this product, the prices immediately slumped. We did not even start to import any dried beans,” he said in a special interview with Reuters on May 5.

Zeybekci added some import licenses may be offered in some products by not making local producers uncomfortable. 

The Turkish Central Bank said on May 5 the upward trend in food and food services prices continued in April, pushing inflation to an annual 7.91 percent, well above the bank’s target.

The bank also said the main trend in core inflation indicators rose slightly in the same month, while the annual rate of increase in core inflation indicators slowed down. 

Inflation is not in a permanent upward trend and is expected to fall in the coming period, Finance Minister Mehmet Şimşek said in a televised interview on May 5.