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World food prices up in October

FAO blames El Niño for inflationary uptrend
/ 12:22 AM November 07, 2015

Weather-driven concerns such as those related to the El Niño phenomenon pushed up global food prices in October for the second month in a row, mainly on a sharp month-on-month increase in sugar prices, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization.

The FAO on Friday said its Food Price Index was turning upward— rising 4 percent from September to average at 162 points—following several months of continued decline that brought figures to their lowest in close to seven years.

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Still, the United Nations agency said it remained lower than a year earlier, by 16 percent from 192.7 points in October 2014.

The FAO index is trade-weighted and tracks prices of five major food commodity groups on international markets, including meat, dairy, cereals, vegetable oils and sugar.

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The sub-index for sugar led the overall rise, jumping 17 percent from September as excessive rains raised concerns in Brazil as did excessive dryness in the Philippines, India, Thailand, South Africa and Vietnam.

“The sharp jump reversed the [sugar] sub-index’s decline since February,” the FAO said.

On the other hand, the agency said prices of rice remained low although the cereals sub-index increased modestly by 1.7 percent month-on-month.

“The increase in rice prices marked declines in the fragrant and Japonica rice segments,” the agency said.

“World cereal stocks are expected to remain at a comfortable level,” it added.

Last October, the FAO said global food prices were staying lower for longer periods, brushing away memories of price spikes seen in 2007 up to early 2011.

Factors contributing to the price downtrend were high inventory levels, sharply lower oil prices and the renewed strength of the US dollar.

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TAGS: Business, El Niño phenomenon, food, Prices, Weather
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