GLOBAL FOOD PRICES ROSE FOR THE 8th TIME
MANILA, MARCH 6, 2011 (STAR) By Pia Lee-Brago – The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said global food prices rose for the eighth straight month in February as it warned that unexpected spikes in oil prices could exacerbate an already precarious situation in food markets.
The FAO Food Price Index, a measure of basic food prices at the international level, averaged 236 points in February, up by 2.2 percent from January, the highest record in real and nominal terms, since the Rome-based agency started monitoring prices in 1990.
The report said prices of all commodity groups monitored increased again last month.
Also, global cereal prices have increased sharply, with export prices of major grains up at least 70 percent from February 2010 due to the decline in world cereal production last year.
The Cereal Price Index, which includes prices of main food staples such as wheat, rice and maize, rose by 3.7 percent in February to 254 points – the highest level since July 2008.
FAO is forecasting global wheat production to rise by around 3 percent this year if there is a recovery in major producers of the Commonwealth of Independent States.
Adding to this situation are concerns over the possible increases in oil prices, said David Hallam, director of the FAO’s Trade and Market Division.
“This adds even more uncertainty concerning the price outlook just as plantings for crops in some of the major growing regions are about to start,” Hallam said.
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