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Record Food Prices Causing Africa Riots Stoking U.S.

The same record food prices causing riots in Algeria and export bans in India are allowing President Barack Obama to combine the biggest-ever U.S. farm exports with the tamest inflation since the 1960s.

Global food costs jumped 25 percent last year to an all-time high in December, according to the United Nations. Countries probably spent at least $1 trillion on imports, with the poorest paying as much as 20 percent more than in 2009, the UN says. In the U.S., the largest exporter, retail food rose 1.5 percent last year and will gain as little as 2 percent in 2011, the Department of Agriculture estimates.