ROME (Reuters) - World food prices fell slightly in October from the previous month, as valuations dropped for all food commodities apart from cereals, the United Nations food agency said on Thursday.
Prices remain 2.5 percent higher than they were last October but are now 27 percent below the record high hit in February 2011.
Agricultural commodities have emerged from a highly volatile period and the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has said it expects them to remain stable over the next decade.
The FAO index, which measures monthly changes for a basket of cereals, oilseeds, dairy products, meat and sugar, averaged 176.4 points in October, down 1.3 percent from September.
Dairy prices were the biggest faller among the commodities measured in October, falling 4.2 percent as importers held back on purchases while awaiting new supplies while prices for skim milk powder were pushed down by low demand and ample stocks.
Cereals markets are likely to be balanced in 2017-18, the FAO said, forecasting that global production would surpass last year’s record harvest by a small margin, reaching 2.613 billion tonnes.
Total production of coarse grains is forecast to reach a record high, thanks to increases in South America and Southern Africa, and global rice output is set to be broadly stable.
Wheat production, however, is due to decline by 1 percent from last year to 752.8 million tonnes, mainly because of a smaller harvest in the United States and an expected decline in Australia’s crop, the FAO said.
Reporting by Isla Binnie; Editing by David Goodman