Food import bills reach a record high Published: 07 June, 2007
GLOBAL food import bills are increasing, partly due to soaring demand for biofuels, according to FAOs latest Food Outlook report.
Global expenditures on imported foodstuffs look set to surpass US$400 billion in 2007, almost 5 percent above the record of the previous year.
Rising prices of imported coarse grains and vegetable oils the commodity groups that feature most heavily in biofuel production account for the bulk of the increase. Import bills for these commodities are forecast to rise by as much as 13 percent from 2006, the report said.
More expensive feed ingredients will lead to higher prices for meat and dairy products, raising expenditures on imports of those commodities. In several cases, such as for meat and rice, larger world purchases are likely to drive import bills up.
Record-high international freight rates have also affected the import value of all commodities, putting additional pressure on countries abilities to cover their food import bills.
Oilseeds and meal prices have continued to rise, largely due to surging feed grain prices. Unusually high maize prices are dragging up soybean prices as the two commodities are competing in both the feed and energy markets. First forecasts for the 2007/08 marketing season suggest that the steady growth in global oilseed production could come to a halt, however, as maize cultivation is likely to expand at the expense of soybeans.
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