ROME (Reuters) - World food prices eased for a second month running in July after five consecutive monthly gains, pushed down by falls in the prices of some cereals, dairy products and sugar, the United Nations food agency said on Thursday.
The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) food price index, which measures monthly changes for a basket of cereals, oilseeds, dairy products, meat and sugar, averaged 170.9 points last month from a downwardly revised 172.7 points in June.
That figure was previously given as 173.0.
FAO did not update its forecast for world cereal production on Thursday. The next estimate will come on Sept 5.
The FAO cereal price index fell 2.7% from June due to lower wheat and maize prices, but was still up 4.1% from its level in July last year. FAO’s all rice price index marked its fifth successive month of stability, the agency said.
The FAO dairy price index fell 2.9% from June, the second straight month of decline, and the index value was down almost 3% compared with the corresponding month last year. Quotations for butter declined the most, followed by cheese and Whole Milk Powder (WMP).
The FAO sugar price index was down 0.6% in July from the month before, mainly on expectations for higher sugarcane yields in India, the world’s largest sugar producer, following above average rainfalls in the main sugar producing regions.
By contrast, the vegetable oil price index gained 0.8% from the previous month, with firmer soy and sunflower oil prices more than offsetting a further drop in palm oil values. The index was still 11% below last year’s corresponding level.
The meat price index rose 0.6% in July from June, posting the sixth consecutive moderate month-on-month increase.
Reporting by Gavin Jones