World food prices low­est in over two years

The Daily Star (Lebanon) - - BUSINESS -

ROME: World food prices de­clined in Novem­ber to their low­est in more than two years, led by de­clines in veg­etable oils, dairy and ce­real, the U.N. food agency said Thurs­day.

The Food and Agri­cul­ture Or­ga­ni­za­tion’s Food Price In­dex, mea­sur­ing monthly changes for a bas­ket of ce­re­als, oilseeds, dairy prod­ucts, meat and sugar, av­er­aged 160.8 points last month, its low­est since May 2016. Only the Sugar Price In­dex gained, ris­ing 4.4 per­cent from Oc­to­ber, the FAO said.

The U.N. body’s Ce­real Price In­dex av­er­aged al­most 164 points in Novem­ber, down 1.1 per­cent from Oc­to­ber. Veg­etable oil prices fell for a 10th straight month, by 7.6 per­cent, reach­ing a 12-year low.

Ce­real prices fell partly be­cause new crops weighed on rice ex­port quo­ta­tions and ex­port com­pe­ti­tion drove down maize, the FAO said. Palm oil prices fell greatly “fu­eled by both per­sist­ing large in­ven­to­ries in lead­ing ex­port­ing coun­tries and the re­cent con­trac­tion in global min­eral oil prices,” it said.

Soy and sun­flower oil prices weak­ened due to “abun­dant sup­plies across the U.S., the EU and sev­eral emerg­ing mar­kets and pos­i­tive pro­duc­tion prospects in the Black Sea re­gion.” Dairy prices fell 3.3 per­cent from Oc­to­ber, for a sixth straight monthly de­cline, and meat prices slipped slightly.

The FAO’s 2018-19 fore­cast for world wheat pro­duc­tion was 725.1 mil­lion tons, 2.8 mil­lion tons lower than the pre­vi­ous fore­cast. –

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