World food prices declining..but still high

World food prices continued their decline in December. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) says their December Food Price Index was down 2.4 percent from November and 11.3 percent below the all-time-high set in February.

FAO says cereal prices dropped 4.8 percent in December thanks to record crops, maize prices were 6 percent lower, wheat down 4 percent and rice was 3 percent cheaper than in November. The oils and fat index declined 3 percent thanks to increasing palm and sunflower oil stocks. Meat prices declined slightly for the month, lower hog and sheep prices were offset by higher beef and poultry prices. Dairy was unchanged, lower butter prices offset slightly higher prices for other dairy products. Sugar prices dropped for the fifth month in a row, down 4 percent in December

For the year, the FAO Food Price Index averaged 228 points, the highest yearly average since they started the index in 1990. The previous yearly record had been 200 points in 2008.

Cereals fell 35 percent last year, oils were 14 percent lower and after peaking in July, sugar prices have fallen 18 percent. However dairy prices increased 10 percent for the year while meat prices were 16 percent higher.

Looking ahead, FAO Senior Grains Economist Abdolreza Abbassian says it is difficult to make any firm predictions, “given the uncertainties over the global economy, currency and energy markets.”

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