January 10, 2013 / 10:10 AM / 5 years ago

Food prices to stay high in 2013 but situation calmer-FAO

ROME, Jan 10 (Reuters) - Food prices are set to remain at high levels in 2013 but the market situation is likely to be calmer than 2012 when sharp price rises over the summer raised fears of a new food crisis, a senior economist at the U.N.'s food agency said on Thursday.

"Prices are high and will remain high in 2013/2014," Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) economist Abdolreza Abbassian told Reuters in a telephone interview.

Nevertheless he added that overall supply of major crops should meet demand more comfortably in 2013/14 compared to 2012/13 and that better coordination between exporting countries had reduced the risk of supply shocks.

"We could be in for a year where the situation is a bit calmer, assuming normal weather," he said.

Earlier FAO said its global food price index fell slightly in December to its lowest level since June, led by declines in cereals and oils prices. (Reporting By Catherine Hornby)

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