World food prices are steadying

World food prices are stabilising after a long period of extreme volatility, the UN's food agency said on Wednesday, as it presented new data showing food prices rose only slightly in October.

The Rome-based Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) said that the trend was due to improved supplies and a recovery in global inventories of cereals.

"The prices for most basic food commodities have declined over the past few months," said David Hallam, director of trade and markets for FAO.

"This relates to production increases and the expectation that in the current season, we will have more abundant supplies, more export availabilities and higher stocks," it said.

The increase in cereal production this year is due mainly to a recovery of maize crops in the United States and record wheat harvests in the former Soviet Union, FAO said, adding that world rice production would grow but more modestly.

FAO said its Food Price Index rose in October to 205.8 points -- a 2.7-point rise from September -- mainly thanks to an increase in sugar prices.

FAO forecast world sugar production would increase only slightly in 2013 and 2014 and mainly in Brazil, the world's largest sugar producer.

Meanwhile world sugar consumption is expected to grow by about 2.0 percent in 2013-2014.