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Business

Global food prices see marked 2012 dip

The United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has said that food prices have dropped over the past 12 months despite a mid-summer hike in 2012. Steps to calm down food markets have yielded first results.

Global food prices fell by 7 percent throughout 2012, the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) announced on Thursday.

The 12-month average drop came despite a 10-percent hike from June to July last year which had triggered fears of a heightened threat of hunger for millions of the world's poor.

Primarily responsible for the average 2012 decrease were easing prices for sugar, which became 17.2 percent cheaper, as well as for dairy products and oils which logged a 14.5-percent and 10.7-percent drop, respectively.

Sustainable development?

"The result marks a reversal from the situation last July when sharply rising prices prompted fears of a new food crisis," FAO Assistant Director General Jomo Sundaram said in a statement.

Flagging demand due to a stagnant global economy had helped to calm prices, as had political measures by the Group of 20 major economies to improve coordination and transparency in food markets, the Rome-based UN body said.

According to the FAO's food index - a monthly measure of changes in a basket of food items – prices dropped in December by over 1 percent to 209 points, marking the third consecutive monthly fall from the 263 points registered in August 2012.

hg/kms (dpa, AFP)