ROME Feb 6 Global food prices fell in January,
led by declines in the costs of sugar, vegetable oils, and
cereals, the United Nations food agency said on Thursday, adding
that robust inventories should contain prices in coming months.
The Food and Agriculture Organisation's (FAO) price index,
which measures monthly price changes for a basket of cereals,
oilseeds, dairy, meat and sugar, averaged 203.4 points in
That was down from a revised 206.2 in December, originally
reported as 206.7.
"The cereals, oils, and sugar seem to have one thing in
common - a much better supply situation than there has been in
some years," FAO senior economist Abdolreza Abbassian told
Reuters by telephone.
"Prices are at more moderate levels and are more stable than
in recent years, and in supply terms there is nothing on the
horizon that says the situation will change," he said.
Among the categories in the index, only dairy prices rose,
FAO said, while meat prices declined marginally. Dairy and meat
prices are more demand driven and less predictable that crops,
Overall food prices declined in 2013 overall compared with
the two previous years, and are down significantly from peaks
reached in 2011.
Also on Thursday, FAO said that it sees cereal output higher
than forecast in a December report.
Cereals output, including milled rice, is seen at nearly
2.502 billion tonnes at the end of the 2014 crop season, 1.7
million tonnes more than previously forecast.
Global cereal stocks at the end of the season are forecast
at 573 million tonnes, nearly the same level as forecast in
December. The forecast for wheat output rose to 714.2 million
tonnes, up marginally from a previous estimate of 710.8 million.