ROME, May 9 (Xinhua) -- World food prices rose to their highest levels in nearly a year in April, climbing 1.5 percent compared to March, with four of five components in the index rising compared to the previous month.
The index, released Thursday by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), has now climbed every month this year. The last time the index was this high was in June 2018.
For the fourth consecutive month, dairy prices climbed the most, adding 5.2 percent a month after rising 6.2 percent. FAO said dry weather in Australia and New Zealand drove prices higher, with distributors stocking up on butter, whole milk powder, and cheese rose in anticipation of tightening supply chains.
Vegetable oil prices climbed 1.1 percent pushed by the rise of palm and soybean oil prices. Meats were 3.0 percent higher, pushed by pig meat prices, which rose on higher demand from China. Sugar prices rose modestly, climbing just 0.8 percent based on a rise in biofuel production in Brazil, the world's top producer of sugar.
Prices for rice and cereals, the biggest component in the FAO index, were the only sector to see a drop in prices, falling 2.8 percent to below its level a year earlier. FAO said wheat prices led the fall, with corn prices finishing the month only marginally lower and rice prices holding steady compared to March.
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 to be released June 6.