The ALert for Price Spike (ALPS)

A new price indicator within WFP’s Food Price Database

The Alert for Price Spikes is an indicator that monitors the extent to which a local food commodity market experiences unusually high food price levels. It shows abnormal price levels of selected staple commodities and the number of markets per country with high food prices. The ALPS allows comparison between markets at the same time or over different periods for the same market. The methodology is based on empirical work undertaken at the Centre of Research and Studies on Economic Development (CERDI).


How do we determine the ALPS?

The ALPS is derived from the difference between the latest observed price available and the corresponding seasonal price trend. The seasonal price trend (called “normal” price) is calculated as the long term seasonally adjusted price trend of the available time series. The difference categorizes four situations on a market in units of standard deviations (STD): normal/stress/alert/crisis.

VAM Food and Commodity Prices Data Store

Who could see value in the ALPS?

The ALPS aims to provide information to humanitarian aid professionals, scholars, students and anyone interested in food security implications of staple food price volatility. It informs WFP’s internal operational programming related to cash, vouchers, and local procurement while triggering early warning and further food security and market analysis including monitoring.

How do we interpret the ALPS?

The market specific graphs show the ALPS classification for a certain commodity. The classification indicates the periods where the actual price (black line) was above/below the estimated trend (blue dotted line). Then it attributes colour codes (colour-shaded bars) according to the severity of the gap between both lines.
The page “At a glance” summarizes the prevalence of unusually high staple food prices by country and by commodity during the last 6 months.
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