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Global food prices slide to four-year low

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LONDON — World food prices tracked by the United Nations slid to a four-year low last month as costs fell for foodstuffs from sugar to milk.

The strengthening of the United States dollar against other currencies is curbing importers’ demand for products including meat and grain priced in greenbacks, the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) said in a report on its website today.

At the same time, the plunging price of crude oil has reduced demand for crops including sugar and palm oil used in biofuel, it said.

Last year marked the third consecutive year of falling food prices as all commodity groups except meat declined.

“Political events and economic conditions are still quite predominant,” Abdolreza Abbassian, a senior economist at the Rome-based agency, said by telephone today. “In spite of declining prices, the volatility has remained pretty strong.”

The FAO’s measure of 73 food prices from around the globe slid 1,7% to 188,6 points in December, the lowest since August 2010.

The gauge averaged 202.1 points last year, also the lowest since 2010, with the biggest price declines in grains, dairy products and vegetable oils.

— Online

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