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11/01/2018 - 17:38hs

Food prices climbed in 2017, but dropped in December

The global food price index from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations was up 8.2% last year from 2016, but slid 3.3% in December from November.

São Paulo – The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) released its Food Price Index this Thursday(11) in Rome. Average prices were up 8.2% worldwide last year from 2016 to an average of 174.6 points, which means the main food groups became more expensive around the world.

In December, the index slid 3.3% compared with November to 169.8 points, driven by a sharp drop in vegetable oil and dairy products, the FAO said.

Dairy prices slid 9.7% in December. Abundant supplies and weak demand pushed down the prices of items like whole and skim powdered milk, cheese and butter. In the whole of 2017, however, average prices were up 31.5% from 2016.

Vegetable oil prices dropped by 5.6% in December from November due to surplus palm oil inventories in Malaysia and Indonesia. This also caused soya oil prices to go down. This index was up 3% from 2016.

Sugar prices declined by 4.1% in December from November. In 2017 from 2016, average prices were down 11.2% due to abundant output in Brazil, the world’s biggest sugar manufacturer.

Average cereal prices were flat in December from November, with wheat going down and maize and rice going up. In 2017 from 2016, prices were up 3.2%, but still fell way short of the 2011 peak (37%).

Meat prices dropped marginally in December, driven by a strong supply of beef, but average prices increased by 9% in 2017 from 2016.

*Translated by Gabriel Pomerancblum

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