World food prices rose for the first time in three months in May and the global food import bill is set to surge this year, driven by rising shipping costs and larger import volumes, the Food and Agriculture Organization said Thursday.
The FAO Food Price Index rose 2.2 percent from April to average 172.6 points, the United Nations food agency said. Global food price were about 10 percent higher from a year ago.
The trade-weighted index tracks international market prices of five major food commodity groups: cereals, vegetable oils, dairy, meat and sugar. Price rose in all groups except sugar.
The FAO also released its biannual Food Outlook on Thursday which showed that the global food import bill is set to rise 10.6 percent from 2016 to more than $1.3 trillion this year.
The food import bills of least-developed countries, low-income food deficit countries and countries in sub-Saharan Africa are on course to rise even faster due to higher import volumes of meat, sugar, dairy and oilseed products, the Rome-based agency said.
All food categories are set to witness rising import bills except fish, the growing domestic demand for which in many developing countries is being increasingly met by robust growth in local aquaculture sectors, the FAO said.
Worldwide oilseed production is expected to leap to an all-time high in 2016/17, due mostly to outstanding yield levels for soybean, the Food Outlook report said. First indications point to a well-supplied market also in 2017/18, further weighing on prices, it added.
While world meat production is expected to stagnate for the third year in a row, due mainly to an anticipated decline in China, global milk output is expected to grow by 1.4 percent in 2017, led by a rapid expansion in India.
Global wheat production is expected to drop 2.2 percent this year, while rice output is forecast to grow 0.7 percent.
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