Food Prices Rise to Record on Commodity Gains

05 Feb

World food prices rose to a record in January on higher dairy, sugar and cereal costs and probably will remain elevated, the United Nations said.

An index of 55 food commodities climbed 3.4 percent from December to 231 points, the seventh straight increase, the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization said in a report today. Dairy prices led advances among five food categories, rising 6.2 percent, the Rome-based agency said.

Food commodities extended gains last month after jumping in 2010 as drought and floods damaged crops from Russia to Argentina. Elevated food prices contributed to protests in Tunisia that ousted President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali last month and demonstrations in Egypt that prompted Hosni Mubarak to say this week he won’t seek re-election as president.

“The new figures clearly show that the upward pressure on world food prices is not abating,” Abdolreza Abbassian, senior economist at the FAO, said in a statement. “These high prices are likely to persist in the months to come.”

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