Nutrition

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FAO food price index: increase in wheat prices

Vegetable oil and grain prices for November inched up a little. Dairy and sugar prices dropped and meat prices were stable. This is according to FAO's monthly food price index.

After some volatile movements in recent years, FAO's Food Price Index, a trade-weighted index that tracks prices of five major food commodities on international markets, is now around its level of August 2010. The Index aggregates sub-indices for prices of cereals, meat, dairy products, vegetable oils, and sugar.

The FAO Dairy Price Index declined 3.4% from October and 29% from a year earlier to average 178.1 points in November, reflecting increased export availability of dairy products along with slower imports to large markets such as China and the Russian Federation.

The Sugar Price Index dropped 3.2% from October to average 230 points in November, about 8% below their level a year earlier. The recent decline came as rain in Brazil's main sugar producing region alleviated concerns about a prolonged drought in the world's largest sugar exporter.

Cereal prices rose significantly for the first time since March as growing conditions for the just-sown wheat crop in the Northern hemisphere appear less than ideal. However, rice prices weakened as newly-harvested supplies arrived to market. The Cereal Price Index averaged 183 points in November, up 2.6% from October, but down 5.8% from a year earlier.

The Vegetable Oil Price Index also rose, increasing 0.7% to 164.9 points - still almost 17% below its level a year earlier - due to lower-than-anticipated global production of sunflower oil and some slowdown of palm oil production in Malaysia and Indonesia. However, soy oil prices were weak, dampening the sub-index's rise.

Meat prices were stable in November, although beef and most other types of meats are at historic highs. The Meat Price Index averaged 210.4 points, in line with its revised value for October while marking a 13.3% increase from November 2013. Mutton and lamb prices moved moderately higher during the month.

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