World food prices rose nearly by 2% or four points from December 2011 to January 2012 – a first time increase since July 2011, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) Food Price Index released today February 9, 2012.

Prices of all the commodity groups in the index, the FAO said registered gains last January “with oils increasing the most, followed closely by cereals, sugar, dairy products and meat.”

At its new level of 214 points, however the FAO indicated the index stood 7% lower than in January of last year 2011.

The Cereal Price Index averaged 223 points in January, up 2.3% (5 points) from December while the Oils/Fats Price Index rose to 234 points, up 3% (6 points).

For meat, the price index showed that it averaged 179 points, half a percent (1 point) above its December value.

The index noted that prices of dairy products averaged 207 points, up 2.5% (5 points) from December and “the Sugar Price Index rose to 334 points in January, up 2.3% (7.4 points) from December, but still 20%  (86 points) lower than in January last year.”

“There is no single narrative behind the food price rebound – different factors are at play in each of the commodity groups,” said the FAO’s Senior Grains Economist, Abdolreza Abbassian in a statement.

“I can’t see that the usual suspects – the value of the dollar and oil prices – were  much involved in January. But one reason is poor weather currently affecting key growing regions like South America and Europe. It has has played a role and remains a cause for concern,” he added.

By Ekow Quandzie/

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