* FAO food index 1.3 pct higher in Oct than in Sept
* FAO economist says food markets stabilising
* Agency raises forecast for 2013/14 cereals output, stocks
(Adds economist quote, detail, background)
By Catherine Hornby
ROME, Nov 7 Global food prices rose slightly in
October after declining for the past five months, the United
Nations food agency said on Thursday, forecasting more stability
in markets as it raised its estimate for 2013/14 cereals output.
The rise in prices last month was fuelled by sugar costs,
which increased due to concerns about harvest delays in Brazil.
Prices of wheat and edible oils also strengthened, the Food and
Agriculture Organisation (FAO) said.
"Prices are settling around these levels," FAO senior
economist Abdolreza Abbassian told Reuters by telephone. "I do
not see such sharp declines in prices in coming months as we
have seen in the first half of the year," he said.
FAO's index measuring monthly price changes for a basket of
cereals, oilseeds, dairy, meat and sugar, averaged 205.8 points
in October, up 1.3 percent from September and hitting its
highest level since July.
Food prices surged during the summer of 2012 due to a major
drought in the United States but prospects for a rebound in
cereal production to record levels have weighed on prices this
In its biannual Food Outlook report published on Thursday,
FAO said food markets were becoming more balanced and less price
volatile than in recent years thanks to bigger supplies and a
recovery in inventories.
FAO raised its forecast for world cereal output in 2013/14
to 2.498 billion tonnes, about 10 million tonnes higher than its
estimate in October.
It increased its estimate for world wheat output in 2013/14
to 708.5 million tonnes from a previous forecast of 704.6
World cereal stocks at the close of seasons ending in 2014
are now seen at 564 million tonnes, higher than a previous
estimate of 559 million tonnes and up 13 percent from their
FAO said it had revised its data for the food price index
and had extended records back to 1961.
The revised index still shows a record peak was hit in
February 2011, when high food prices helped drive the Arab
Spring uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa.
In the summer of 2012 the index began surging to levels
close to another peak seen in 2008, when several poor countries
experienced riots, some of them deadly.
(Editing by Gareth Jones)