Rome, Italy | XINHUA | World food prices edged higher in July, the second consecutive month of increases on the heels of lower prices for the first five months of the year, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) reported Thursday.
FAO said rising prices for vegetable oils, dairy products, and sugar offset lower prices in other sectors.
The overall FAO World Food Price Index gained 1.2 percent in July, following a 2.4-percent increase the previous month.
The prices for grains and cereals — the largest component in the index — declined by less than 0.1 percent.
FAO said wheat, barley, sorghum, and corn prices were largely stable, while rice prices slipped to their lowest levels in four months due to logistical issues related to the coronavirus pandemic. FAO said China was a big buyer of sorghum and corn, while an improved supply of rice across Asia was behind the drop in prices.
Meat prices were 1.8 percent lower than in June, pushed by lower pork and beef demand. But prices for chicken meat rebounded slightly after five months of declines.
The other sub-indexes all saw prices climb in July.
The vegetable oil index rose by 7.6 percent following an 11.3-percent increase the previous month based mostly on improving demand for palm, soy, and rapeseed oils.
Dairy prices rose by 3.5 percent, roughly equivalent to the increase in June. FAO said a rise in demand from Asian markets combined with a drop-off in production from Australia and New Zealand were behind the trend.
Prices for sugar rose a modest 1.4 percent following a 10.6-percent leap a month earlier.
The monthly FAO Food Price Index is based on worldwide prices for 23 food commodity categories covering prices for 73 different products compared to a baseline year.