Agricultural Prices Decrease in First Quarter of 2024

In the first quarter of 2024, agricultural prices in the European Union (EU) experienced a notable decline for both outputs and inputs not related to investment. The average price of agricultural output fell by 6% compared to the same period in 2023. Meanwhile, the average cost of goods and services currently consumed in agriculture (inputs not related to investment) saw a more substantial decrease of 11%.

This trend follows a period of disruption during which agricultural prices saw sharp increases from 2021 through the first three quarters of 2022. However, the rate of growth slowed and prices began to decrease, moving towards more stable, pre-disruption levels.

Contrasting Price Trends in Agricultural Outputs

The first quarter of 2024 witnessed varied and contrasting price changes for different agricultural outputs. Notably, the average price of cereals plummeted by 28%, and the price of milk decreased by 12%. Eggs and industrial crops (including oilseeds, protein crops, raw tobacco, and sugar beet) saw a 10% decline, while fresh vegetables dropped by 6%, with tomatoes experiencing a particularly steep fall of 33%.

Conversely, the price of potatoes surged by 22%, and fresh fruit prices increased by 20%, despite a significant reduction of 44% in the price of lemons and limes. These increases were partly in response to anticipated impacts of unfavorable weather conditions on harvested quantities.

Inputs Not Related to Investment Show Sharp Price Drops

Among agricultural inputs not related to investment, the sharpest price declines were observed in fertilizers and soil improvers, which fell by 31%. Animal feedingstuffs decreased by 16%, and energy and lubricants dropped by 12%.

Quarterly Prices Down in Most EU Countries

At the national level, 21 out of 25 EU countries with available data registered a decrease in agricultural output prices in the first quarter of 2024 compared to the same period in 2023. The most significant declines were recorded in Hungary (-24%), Bulgaria and Romania (both -18%), and Slovakia and Czechia (both -17%).

In contrast, prices increased in five southern EU countries. Greece saw the most substantial rise at 20%, with more modest increases observed in Malta and Spain (both +4%), and Portugal and Cyprus (both +1%).

Regarding inputs not related to investment, 24 out of 25 EU countries with available data reported decreases in the first quarter of 2024 compared to the first quarter of 2023. The sharpest declines were seen in Croatia (-20%), Hungary (-19%), and both the Netherlands and Ireland (both -17%). Portugal was the only EU country to record an increase in these inputs, with a 2% rise.

This significant shift in agricultural prices highlights the dynamic nature of the sector and the varying factors influencing price changes across different regions and product categories.

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