Trade flows continued to reach new highs during the ongoing pandemic
At the global level, food and agricultural exports grew by almost $52 billion in 2020
While global food trade is expected to be strong for the year ahead, the food prices though are feared to remain high over supply and demand uncertainties. This is the conclusion of a study released today by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). The report notes that trade flows continued to reach new highs during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, on a global level, trade in agricultural products – particularly less-perishable foods – performed more robustly than the broader merchandise sectors.
That has contributed to drive FAO’s provisional forecast for the world food import bill in 2021 to $1.72 trillion, a 12 percent increase from its previous high of$1.53 trillion in 2020. And in 2021, prospects are for the value of global agricultural trade, measured by exports, to increase by 8 percent, or $137 billion. Much of that growth reflects demand from East Asia, although the composition of the import basket there is expected to change significantly due in large part to the recovery of China’s livestock sector.
At the global level, food and agricultural exports grew by almost $52 billion in 2020 from the year before, a 3.2 percent annualized expansion, with developing countries accounting for around 40 percent of the increase.
However, rising prices raise concerns that higher outlays may still mask deteriorating quantitative and qualitative dietary trends in vulnerable countries. The UN assessment issued twice a year offers a detailed assessment of market supply and demand trends for the world’s major foodstuffs, including cereals, vegetable oils, sugar, meat and dairy and fish. It also looks at trends in futures markets and shipping costs for food commodities.