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World food prices drifts lower in July: FAO

World food prices continued their decline in July, paced by lower grain prices, though world prices for rice were mixed, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization said on Friday.

Overall, FAO's World Food Price Index slipped 1.9 percent to 205.9 points in July, its third consecutive monthly decline. The July level was also 3.3 percent below the average for July 2012.

The biggest drop in the index came from cereals and grains -- the largest component in the index -- which fell by nearly 4 percent. Corn prices fell the most, followed by wheat. But world rice prices were mostly flat, with mixed reports from different countries. Rice prices fell the most in Thailand, for example, but rose in Vietnam.

Among the other components of the index, prices for oils and fats fell around 3 percent, while dairy and sugar prices fell a little more than one percent. Prices for meats were largely unchanged compared to June.

Overall, cereals and grains and sugars continued a decline that started last year, while dairy prices continued to drift lower after a dramatic 25 percent rise over three months ending in April.

FAO said prospects were for prices to continue to fall as stores remain full and prognostications for production levels, particularly for cereals and grains, remained strong.

The next installment of FAO's World Food Price Index -- based on average prices on a basket of 55 goods in five key commodity groups measured by FAO -- will be released September 5.

[Source: Xinhua, Rome, 09Aug13]

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