Global supply issues hit food chain, FAO price index reaches 10-year high

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Food prices rose for the fourth consecutive month in November, the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) reported Thursday. The anticipation of supply chain issues is one of the main factors behind the rise, the FAO said.

World markets have been crippled by higher fuel prices and transportation interruptions in recent weeks, factors that have taken a toll on food prices.

The Rome-based FAO said its overall Food Price Index climbed 1.2 percent compared to October, averaging 134.4 points for the month -- its highest level since June 2011.

The sub-indexes pushing prices higher were wheat and dairy products, FAO said.

The grains and cereals sub-index, the largest component in the overall index, rose by 3.1 percent, due mostly to higher wheat prices. Corn prices inched higher, FAO said, while rice prices were stable. However, wheat prices hit levels not seen since May 2011.

Dairy prices, meanwhile, rose 3.4 percent compared to October, due to "tight global export availabilities and depleted stocks," FAO said.

Sugar prices also rose, though by a modest 1.4 percent. Prices were pushed up by greater import demand, according to the FAO.

Prices for meat and vegetable oils both decreased slightly, by 0.9 percent and 0.2 percent respectively.

The monthly FAO Food Price Index is based on worldwide prices for 23 food commodity categories, covering prices for 73 different products, compared to a baseline year. The next index is scheduled for release on Jan. 6. 

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