This article is from ECHO Asia Note #1

What is the outlook for world food prices? In the immediate future (the next few months), some moderation in global food prices seems likely in response to very recent (since mid-2008) declines in world grain and energy prices. In the short-term (next 2 to 3 years) world food prices are likely to remain relatively high, as depleted grain stocks are rebuilt; more rapid economic growth resumes in countries such as China and India; and prices of key farm inputs such as fertilizer remain high. Over the medium-term (beyond about 2010), the outlook becomes more cloudy. In that time frame the world’s farmers seem likely to respond with increased production in response to attractive grain prices. However, we are also likely to see continued income growth and associated dietary changes world-wide; continued high energy and farm input prices; and steady population growth. In light of these realities, world grain and food prices are likely to remain significantly above the levels of the past two decades.