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World Food Prices Climb For Fifth Month to Highest in Two Years

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World Food Prices Climb For Fifth Month
A tractor passes over rice at a rice processing facility in Surin, Thailand. Photographer: Brent Lewin/Bloomberg

Dec. 1 (Bloomberg) -- World food prices climbed for a fifth month, rising to the highest level in more than two years in November on higher costs for cereals, sugar and cooking oil, the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization said.

The FAO’s index of 55 food commodities jumped to 205.4 points, the highest level since July 2008, the Rome-based agency said in a monthly report on its website today. The indicator rose from 198.1 points in October.

Food prices may rise further unless global grain production rises “significantly” next year, the FAO said in a Nov. 17 report. The cost of food rose to a record in June 2008, prompting deadly riots in countries from Haiti to Egypt.

The advance is the longest since January, when the price index rose for six months before declining in February. Prices climbed for an uninterrupted 18 months through March 2008, falling the next month before rising to a record.

The cereal-price index jumped to 224.9 points from 219.9, while the indicator for cooking-oil prices rose to 243.3 points in November from 220 points in the previous month. The gauge for sugar prices advanced to 374.7 points from 349.3.

The index for dairy prices rose to 207.8 from 202.6 points and the meat-price index was unchanged at 138.5 points, the FAO data showed.

The basis for the FAO index is 2002-04. The gauge includes commodity quotations that the agency considers representative for international food prices.

To contact the reporter on this story: Rudy Ruitenberg in Paris at rruitenberg@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Claudia Carpenter at ccarpenter2@bloomberg.net.

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