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food

World food prices rose for the fourth consecutive month in January, as prices for oils and sugar continued to grow, according to information released Thursday by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

The overall index rose a modest 0.7 percent in January compared to the previous month, putting the index at its highest level since 2015.

As in December, the main drivers in January were vegetable oils and sugar, which rose 7.0 percent and 5.5 percent, respectively, building on gains in December. Vegetable oils have now climbed more than 15 percent in two months, led by tightening global supplies of soy and sunflower oils combined with increasing demand.

Prices for grains and cereals — the largest component in the index — climbed 2.9 percent, the third highest the index. FAO said gains came across the board, with wheat prices climbing the most based on worries about export quotas in Russia. Corn prices, meanwhile, rose on higher-than-anticipated demand, while rice prices climbed due to poor weather in several major rice-producing countries.

Dairy prices climbed slightly in January, though they are more than 10 percent higher than the same point in 2019.

Meat prices, meanwhile, fell by 4.0 percent. It was the first decrease for the meat sub-index after 11 months of increases. FAO said the main factor pushing prices lower was a decrease in imports from China and other Asian markets.

The monthly FAO Food Price Index is based on worldwide prices for 23 food commodity categories covering prices for 73 different products compared to a baseline year. Enditem

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