World food prices fall 1.6 percent in November

World food prices decrease by 1.6 percent in November United Nations Food Agriculture Organization says

Photo by: Reuters (Archive)
Photo by: Reuters (Archive)

Labourers sift harvested wheat in a field on the outskirts of the western Indian city of Ahmedabad March 14, 2013.

Global food prices fell in November due to ample supplies, lower energy prices and a strong dollar, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said in a statement released on Thursday.

The FAO Food Price Index averaged 156.7 points in November 2015, down 1.6 percent from October, and 18 percent below its value a year earlier, the statement said.

The index measures monthly changes for a basket of  five major food commodity groups -- cereals, vegetable oils, dairy, meat and sugar.

The cereal price index fell  by 2.3  percent from October, a decline driven by favorable harvests in the US, the world's largest maize producer and exporter, according to the statement.

The vegetable oil price index fell 3.1 percent from October,  a decrease partly driven by lower energy prices, and encouraging planting and production prospects for soy crops in North and South America, according to the FAO. 

The organization's latest "Cereal Supply and Demand Brief " also predicts that global cereal production output for 2015 will be 1.3 percent below the previous year's record 2.527 billion tonnes, due mainly to reduced maize production in China. 

Global cereal utilization is projected to grow by one percent in 2015/16, slower than in previous years, partly due to lower oil prices curbing industrial demand for biofuel crops, the FAO said. 

Conflict and adverse weather affect food security in 33 countries, including 26 in Africa, the FAO said.