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Shockwatch: food prices annual review

Research reports

Written by Steve Wiggins, Sharada Keats

Research reports

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.
This issue is an annual review for the year ending April 2013. Also included is a special update: ‘Five years on from the price spike’.

The key points in this annual review of the 2012/13 market year are:

·       2012 saw yet another sharp rise in maize and wheat prices when in mid-2012 a one-in-50-year drought hit the US Midwest cutting US production by 95M tonnes.

·       Even higher price rises were avoided as harvest failures were largely limited to maize in the US, while, in the southern hemisphere, maize and wheat production reached a new record in early 2013.

·       Maize stocks remain very low: too low to resist any shocks.

·      Rice prices remain high, despite a series of good harvests, slowly growing demand, and healthy stocks.


Steve Wiggins and Sharada Keats