World food prices climb 1% in February 2012 – FAO

World food prices rose one percent or 2.4 points from January to February 2012, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation’s (FAO) Food Price Index published March 8, 2012.

The increase of prices in February, the UN food agency says was mostly driven by higher prices of sugar, oils and cereals despite the prices of dairy falling slightly after a marked rise in January.

At its current level, the index was 10% below its peak in February 2011, it observed.

The index noted that increased imports due to a weaker US Dollar and plunging freight rates have also characterized world markets since the beginning of 2012.  This, combined with unfavourable weather conditions in major exporting countries has supported world prices in recent weeks, the FAO said in a brief attached to the Food Price Index.

The FAO Cereal Price Index averaged 227 points in February, up 2%, or 4.4 points, from January while the Oils/Fats Price Index registered another gain in February to 239 points,  2% or 5 points, higher than in January.

For the Meat Price Index, FAO said it averaged at 175 points in February, virtually unchanged from the previous month’s level.

The FAO Dairy Price Index however stood at 205 points in February, down marginally from January. The decline was mainly caused by falling skim milk powder and casein quotations.

The FAO Sugar Price Index rose to 342 points in February, up 2.4%, or 8 points, from January, but still 18% (76 points) lower than in February last year, the Rome-based agency added.

By Ekow Quandzie

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