RPT-World food prices surge for third month to 5-year high in December-UN FAO

ROME, Jan 9 (Reuters) - World food prices surged for the third consecutive month to reach a five-year high in December, lifted by strong rises in vegetable oils, sugar and dairy as well as rebounding cereal prices, the United Nations food agency said on Thursday.

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) food price index, which measures monthly changes for a basket of cereals, oilseeds, dairy products, meat and sugar jumped to its highest point since Dec. 2014, averaging 181.7 points, up 2.5% on the previous month.

For the year as a whole, the index averaged 171.5 points, 1.8% higher than in 2018 but below the peak of 230 points reached in 2011.

Reporting by James Mackenzie