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Global Food Prices May Keep Falling This Year, World Bank Says

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Jan. 31 (Bloomberg) -- Global food prices fell last quarter and may continue declining this year as supplies increase, according to the World Bank.

The bank’s food-price index decreased 8 percent in the three months through December, led by staples including wheat and corn, the lender said today in Washington. By the end of 2011, the index was 7 percent below its year-earlier level, the World Bank said.

The data follow a similar index published by the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization earlier this month that touched a 14-month low in December. Falling prices may give central banks greater scope to ease monetary policy as the European financial crisis hurts global growth.

“Prospects for a decline in 2012 prices are favorable on account of increasing supplies,” the World Bank said in its Food Price Watch publication. “Yet, global prices remain high and volatile, markets tight, and oil prices uncertain.”

To contact the reporters on this story: Sandrine Rastello in Washington at srastello@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Christopher Wellisz at cwellisz@bloomberg.net

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