World Food Price Index up in March

By Aarian Marshall

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.



WASHINGTON, April 4, 2014 - World food prices were at their highest levels in almost a year in March, after jumping a “sharp” 2.3 percent, the United Nation's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) reported yesterday.

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Prices in the FAO's index, which is based on the costs for a basket of food commodities, increased in most measured groups. Sugar and cereals saw the largest gains - 7.9 percent and 5.2 percent, respectively. Dairy, meanwhile, was the only group to take a dip, as prices fell 2.5 percent.

Since the end of last month, however, unfavorable conditions have partly subsided, FAO said, meaning the high prices may not continue into April.

"The Index was influenced, as expected, by unfavorable weather conditions in the U.S. and Brazil and geopolitical tensions in the Black Sea region," Senior FAO Economist Abdolreza Abbassian said.

Now, “the initial fear over disruptions in grain shipments from Ukraine has subsided,” Abbassian said. “Also, markets have started to discard any negative impacts that the current difficult domestic economic conditions may bear on plantings or harvests in 2014.”

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