MILAN Jan 31 World food prices in January are
expected to be close to record highs seen in December, an
economist at the United Nations' food agency said on Monday
ahead of the release of the agency's monthly food index.
"FAO's expectation is that the January index would be very
close or slightly below December," Abdolreza Abbassian, UN's
Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) economist, told Reuters
in a telephone interview.
The FAO Food Price Index, which measures monthly price
changes for a food basket composed of cereals, oilseeds, dairy,
meat and sugar, hit a record high of 214.7 points in December,
above 2008 peaks which triggered riots in several countries.
According to preliminary estimates, prices of sugar, some
grains and oilseeds in January were slightly below levels seen
in December, Abbassian said adding the FAO uses spot and
physical prices to calculate the index and does not use futures
The FAO is due to publish its Food Price Index for January
on Feb. 3.
(Reporting by Svetlana Kovalyova; editing by James Jukwey)