Dr Gary Cook is a Senior Lecturer in Applied Economics at the University of Liverpool’s Management School
“Food prices started to rise quite sharply for corn, soybeans and wheat at the beginning of the summer, although the rate of increase is now levelling off.
“This is the result of two factors. Firstly, adverse weather has reduced harvests from some key producers. Drought has affected some parts of Latin America and the mid-West of the USA, with particularly sharp effects on production of corn and soybeans. Wheat production has been significantly reduced in the Black Sea region, which includes the Ukraine.
“Closer to home, the unusually wet summer which has significantly reduced UK harvests for wheat, fruit and vegetables , with output of potatoes and apples in particular down by about a quarter.
“However, stocks of agricultural products are also below normal levels and this has driven prices up, partly through speculation on international commodity prices, once the news of reduced harvests came about.
“The rise in grain prices will work through into meat prices as they are important elements in feeds for livestock. These poor harvests are temporary disruptions and given generally weak economic activity globally, the outlook is for food prices to moderate over the next year.”