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International food commodity prices hold steady in December

The FAO Food Price Index averaged 161.7 points in December, compared to a revised level of 161.6 points in the previous month. The index averaged 168.4 points for the whole of 2018, some 3.5 percent lower than in 2017 and almost 27 percent below the high point reached in 2011.

Global food prices held broadly stable in December, with rising international cereal prices offsetting declining sugar and dairy quotations, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) said. The FAO Food Price Index averaged 161.7 points in December, compared to a revised level of 161.6 points in the previous month.

The index, which serves as an indicator of the monthly change in the international prices of a basket of food commodities, averaged 168.4 points for the whole of 2018, some 3.5 percent lower than in 2017 and almost 27 percent below the high point reached in 2011. While the international prices of all major cereals rose over the last year, those of the other tracked commodities declined, with sugar dropping the most.

The FAO Cereal Price Index increased by 1.8 percent in December from November and 9.6 percent from December 2017. Wheat and maize prices rose during the month, due to weather effects in the southern hemisphere, while rice prices declined for the sixth successive month. FAO’s most recent forecasts anticipate global output of wheat and maize to fall in 2018 while that of rice to set a new record. Global suppliers of all the major cereals are more than sufficient and inventories are still ample.

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