Global food prices hit 10 month high due to weather, Crimea tensions

In a news release, agency said that its most recent Food Price Index, which measures the monthly change in international prices of a basket of 55 food commodities, including meat, dairy, sugar, and cereals, went up 4.8 points or 2.3 per cent, averaging now 212.8 points. This is the highest it has been since May 2013.

"The Index was influenced, as expected, by unfavourable weather conditions in the US and Brazil and geopolitical tensions in the Black Sea region," said Abdolreza Abbassian, FAO Senior Economist.

"The Food Price Index looks at March trends. Since then, the initial fear over disruptions in grain shipments from Ukraine has subsided. Also, markets have started to discard any negative impacts that the current difficult domestic economic conditions may bear on plantings or harvests in 2014," Mr. Abbassian said.

The report indicated an increase in all commodity groups except dairy, which fell 2.5 per cent for the first time in four months, averaging 268.5 points, as purchases by China declined, and amid uncertainty over trade with the Russian Federation. Good production in New Zealand and the northern hemisphere also influenced prices.

The greatest gain was seen in sugar, which rose 7.9 per cent, to a 253.9 point average. Concerns of declining availability from Brazil and Thailand, due respectively to drought and reduced sugarcane output and the expected impact of El Niño conditions later this year contributed to the price surge.

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