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Food Price Update October 2012

Research report

Written by Steve Wiggins, Sharada Keats

Research report

ODI’s Food Prices Updates focus on tracking international prices of key staple cereals maize, rice, and wheat, and provide commentary on events in markets that affect these prices. They also follow international food and commodity price indices.  This edition focuses on food prices during October 2012.


  • Some relief after the shock of US maize losses.
  • Limited further losses to Northern harvests.
  • Better prospects for coming Southern Hemisphere crops.
  • Prices high, maize falling back slightly

Key Points: 

  • After the major shock in July when it became clear just how much of the US maize crop was lost, further bad news has been limited.
  • Hence the sharp price rises seen in the maize and wheat markets in July have now been pegged back a little - even if at more than US$315 a tonne for maize, US$370 a tonne for wheat, prices are high.
  • Fears over the Indian monsoon have abated. Rice harvests will equal the record. Rice prices are high, but stable.
  • Maize stocks, however, are now very low indeed.
  • The focus switches to the main Southern Hemisphere crop season that is beginning. Here there is some good news. It had been feared there would be a strong El Niño this season, but the forecasts now expect a mild event.
Sharada Keats and Steve Wiggins