ROME, Sept. 5 (Xinhua) -- World food prices continued their decline in August, falling 1.1 percent compared to the previous month, with prices for most grains, cereals and sugar all dropping, according to information released Thursday by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
August was the third consecutive month to see prices fall, reversing a trend in which prices climbed for the first five months of the year. Despite the falling prices, the overall index remains above its level from a year ago.
Prices for grains and cereals - the largest component in the index - declined 6.4 percent in August, even though rice prices climbed slightly based on weather risks in Thailand and strong demand from China and India. In contrast, wheat prices fell due to an over-supply among exporters while corn prices slipped due to rising supply based on the harvest in the United States.
Sugar prices also fell, slipping 4 percent based on the depreciation of the currency in Brazil, the world's leading producer.
In contrast, prices for vegetable oils rose 5.9 percent to their highest levels in nearly a year, pushed higher by rising prices for palm oil. Lower exports from Malaysia were the main factor in the increase, FAO said.
Meat and dairy prices edged slightly higher, with a 0.5 percent increase in both categories.
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 on Oct. 3.