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    Global food price index ends 2023 on lower levels

    (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

    The United Nations food agency’s world price index ended last year about 10 per cent below its 2022, with values in December also down from the previous month, helping further ease concerns over global food price inflation.

    The Food and Agriculture Organization’s (FAO) price index, which tracks the most globally traded food commodities, averaged 118.5 points in December, down 1.5 per cent from November and 10.1 per cent below December 2022 levels.

    For 2023 as a whole, the index averaged 13.7 per cent below year earlier levels, with only sugar prices higher over the period. The FAO’s sugar price index did, however, decline 16.6 per cent in December from November.

    This was “mainly driven by the strong pace of production in Brazil, along with reduced use of sugarcane for ethanol production in India,” the UN agency said in a statement.

    The FAO’s cereal price index rose 1.5 per cent in December from November, as wheat, maize, rice and barley prices all rose amid hindered shipments from major exporting countries. For the year as a whole however, cereal prices were 15.4 per cent below their 2022 average as markets are well supplied with the exception of rice.

    The largest price falls were in vegetable oils, with the price index slumping 1.4 per cent in December, from November, and a substantial 32.7 per cent drop for the year as a whole.

    The FAO’s meat price index dipped 1.0 per cent in December from November and was down 1.8 per cent year-on-year, while the December diary price index rose 1.6 per cent month-on-month, but was down 16.1 per cent from a year earlier.

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