ROME – The cost of food increased in October for the first time in five months driven by a spike in prices of sugar and grains, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) reported on Thursday.
The UN-backed agency said that the basic food price index reached an average of 172.7 points, a 1.7% increase compared to September and a 6% rise compared to October 2018.
The price of sugar increased by 5.8% per month due to a lower production volume than projected in India, the largest producer, and Thailand, the largest exporter, thus curbing global supplies for the coming year.
Cereals also experienced a sharp rise of 4.2% due to a decline in crop output in Argentina and Australia.
Major grains export prices swelled in October, a direct reflection of reduced crop output in the United States and concerns over Argentina’s planting conditions, according to FAO.
Meanwhile, the prices of vegetable oils increased by 0.5% in October, reaching their highest level in over a year. This is due, among other reasons, to the new regulations on biodiesel in Indonesia that favor the price of oil Palm which is highly demanded.
Meat was sold at 0.9% dearer price as an increase in demand for beef and lamb, especially from China, driven up exports.
Pork prices continued to increase and poultry prices declined.
The only product that dropped in value in October were dairy prices, specifically 0.7%, due to the cheaper price of cheese, the organization said.