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FAO food price index hits record high in December

Global food prices rise for the sixth month in a row, with FAO index hitting record high, just above levels recorded during the 2007/08 2008 crisis

Reuters, Wednesday 5 Jan 2011

Global food prices rose in December, with the FAO Food Price Index at a record high, the U.N Food and Agriculture Organization said on Wednesday.

Up for the sixth month in a row and fueled by rising sugar, grain (cerial) and oil prices, the index hit its highest records since it began in 1990, in nominal terms. The index also topped the June 2008 high of 213.5, recorded during the food crisis of 2007/08.

The index, which measures monthly price changes for a food basket composed of grains, oilseeds, dairy, meat and sugar, averaged 214.7 points last month, up from 206.0 in November.

The FAO's Sugar Price Index also soared to a record high of 398.4 points, up from 373.4 in November.

Its Cereals Price Index, which includes prices of main food staples such as wheat, rice and corn, rose to an average of 237.6 points in December, the highest level since August 2008 and up from 223.3 points in November.

The Oils Price Index also jumped to 263.0 points in December, up from 243.3 points in November.

The 2008 food price increase sparked riots in a number of countries.

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