Food Prices Rose Most in 11 Months, May Climb in February

Friday, February 10, 2012
By Paul Martin

By Rudy Ruitenberg
Bloomberg.com

Feb. 9 (Bloomberg) — Global food prices rose 1.9 percent in January, the biggest gain in 11 months as dairy, oilseed and grain costs increased, and may climb further in February, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization said.

An index of 55 food items increased to 214.3 points from a revised 210.3 points in December, the Rome-based FAO said on its website today. Prices may post a “slight” gain this month amid uncertainty about crop prospects this year, Abdolreza Abbassian, a senior economist at the FAO, said by phone.

Costlier food is driving up living costs in China, home to about a fifth of the world population. Chinese inflation unexpectedly accelerated in January on the back of food prices, which rose 10.5 percent last month compared with a year earlier, up from 9.1 percent in December, the country’s National Bureau of Statistics reported today.

“It would not surprise me to see a slight price increase in February,” Abbassian said from Rome. “Prices are going to probably remain within this range until there is more certainty about production and the supply situation in 2012.”

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