Global food prices hit four-year low | Business | Economy and finance news from a German perspective | DW | 09.10.2014

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Global food prices hit four-year low

Bumper harvests and huge stockpiles of food have been helping to drive global prices down. The United Nations' food agency said the cost of all major items except meat dropped in September, but the outlook was mixed.

World food prices fell to their lowest level since 2010 in September, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) reported Thursday.

The UN body measures monthly price changes for a basket of cereals, oilseeds, dairy, meat and sugar. The organization's index averaged 191.5 points in September, down another 5.2 points from August.

The 2.6-percent drop month-on-month also marked the sixth consecutive slip in the index and thus the longest period of continuous falls since the late 1990s.

Ebola worries

The FAO report said the renewed decline was led by a sharp drop in dairy prices, with the Russian ban on such products from the EU and the US having a large impact.

Meat was the only item that bucked the trend last month, with prices up marginally. "Being at historic highs, meat prices may have reached a peak," the UN agency commented.

The FAO provided a cautious outlook for the months ahead, mentioning specifically that the Ebola virus outbreak was a hot spot of concern since it was disrupting markets and farming activities in West Africa, thus affecting food security.

It also pointed to irregular rains in several areas of the Sahel belt that resulted in "mixed production prospects."

hg/sgb (AFP, Reuters)