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Global food prices stable in February: UN agency


Global food prices remained stable in February from the previous month and wheat harvests are set to increase by 4.3 percentage points this year, the UN's food agency in Rome said on Thursday.

The food price index compiled by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) remained at 210 points -- the same level as in January and five points lower than in February 2012.

Cereal and sugar prices fell but meat stayed the same and dairy prices rose, mainly due to a recent spell of hot weather in Australia.

Wheat production meanwhile was forecast to rise to 690 million tonnes this year, which would be the second largest global crop on record.

This was mainly due to increased planting in Europe and a recovery in yield in some major producers like Russia and the United States.

The cereal price index averaged 245 points in February -- down by less than one percentage point from January but still eight percentage points higher than in February 2012.

The oils and fats price index averaged 206 points -- up 0.4 percentage points from January mainly due to an increase in palm oil prices.

The dairy price index was at 203 points -- 2.4 percentage points higher than in January, while meat prices remained stable at 178 points.

The sugar price index was at 259 points -- down 3.0 percent from January due to a large world production surplus and greater export potential.