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World food prices fall to near five-year low





Global food prices fell in April to their lowest since June 2010, as dairy led most commodities down, the United Nations food agency said yesterday.

The UN Food and Agriculture Organisation's (FAO) price index, which measures monthly changes for a basket of cereals, oilseeds, dairy, meat and sugar, averaged 171 points in April, 1.2pc below its reading in March.

High global production, a strong US dollar and cheaper crude oil have helped cap food prices for the past year and the index has been declining since April 2014.

There are no major concerns about supply, so external factors are likely to have more influence over price developments in the near future, FAO senior economist Abdolreza Abbassian said.

"My gut feeling is that the exchange rate would have the biggest influence, and if the dollar does get weaker this could be supportive to prices," Ms Abbassian said.

Meat prices bucked the trend, rising in April for the first time since August 2014.

The FAO forecast world cereal production in 2015 would fall by 1.5pc from the previous year, with overall output reaching 2.509bn tonnes.

Most of the decrease would come from reduced planting of maize, the agency said.

Cereal stocks at the end of the 2015-16 season are forecast to reach 626.6m tonnes and world wheat output is due to hit 719.1m tonnes, the FAO said.

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