World Food Prices Fell in July as Grains Slipped on Crop Outlook

World food prices fell for a third month in July to the lowest level in a year, led by sliding grain prices on an outlook for increased corn production, the UN’s Food & Agriculture Organization reported.

An index of 55 food items tracked by the FAO fell to 205.9 points from a revised 210.1 in June, the Rome-based United Nations agency wrote in an online report today. The gauge, which reached a record 237.9 points in February 2011, fell to its lowest level since June 2012.

The world’s food-import bill is expected to remain stable this year at $1.094 trillion as lower spending on sugar and cooking oils makes up for rising costs of dairy, fish and meat, the FAO predicted June 13. Since then, corn futures in Chicago slumped 14 percent, falling to the lowest since October 2010 this week.

“The decline in July, which marked the third consecutive monthly drop, was largely driven by lower international prices for grains, soy and palm oil,” the FAO wrote.

The FAO’s grain price index fell 3.7 percent to 227.7 points in July from 236.5 in June.

“The sharp decline mostly reflected falling maize prices as favorable weather boosted hopes of a significant production increase in several leading maize-producing countries,” the FAO wrote, using another name for corn. “Wheat prices also rose but the strong pace of exports limited the decline.”

The gauge for cooking oils and fats dropped 3.3 percent to 191.2 points, sliding to the lowest level since July 2010. The dairy price index slid 1.1 percent last month to 236.3, falling for a third month after in April rising to the highest since December 2007 as drought cut supplies in New Zealand.

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