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World food prices fell in June but remain very high: FAO

PARIS (AFP) – World food prices, including for wheat, fell in June for a third month running despite remaining near an all-time high, the United Nations (UN) Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said yesterday.

Export flow disruptions resulting from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24 and international sanctions on Moscow have sparked fears of a global hunger crisis.

After a record spike in March due to the war, the FAO food price index – a measure of the monthly change in international prices of a basket of food commodities – fell 2.3 per cent in June.

Russia and Ukraine, whose vast grain-growing regions are among the world’s main breadbaskets, account for a huge share of the globe’s exports in several major commodities, including wheat, vegetable oil and corn.

Most price indices fell in June, including those for grains, vegetable oils and sugar.

Grains fell 4.1 per cent overall. The price of wheat shrank 5.7 per cent, the first time it had dropped since March.

“The decline in June was driven by seasonal availability from new harvests in the northern hemisphere, improved crop conditions in some major producing countries and higher production prospects in the Russian Federation,” the UN agency explained.

FAO Chief Economist Maximo Torero Cullen nevertheless voiced caution.

“Although the FAO Food Price Index dropped in June for the third consecutive month, it remained close to the all-time high of March this year,” he said.