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ROME: The United Nations food agency’s world price index fell in June to its lowest level in more than two years, pushed down by a drop in the cost of sugar, vegetable oils, cereals and dairy products.

The Food and Agriculture Organization’s (FAO) price index, which tracks the most globally-traded food commodities, averaged 122.3 points in June against a revised 124.0 for the previous month, the agency said on Friday.

The May reading was originally given as 124.3. The June score marked the lowest since April 2021 and meant the index is now 23.4% below an all-time peak reached in March 2022 following the start of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

In a separate report on cereals supply and demand, FAO forecast world cereal production this year at 2.819 billion tonnes, slightly up on last month’s estimate and a 1.1% increase on 2022 levels.

FAO said the higher forecast was almost entirely driven by better prospects for global wheat production, with the forecast lifted by 0.9% to 783.3 million tonnes.

FAO’s cereal price index dropped by 2.1% in June from the prior month, with maize, barley, sorghum, wheat and rice prices all retreating. The vegetable oil price index fell 2.4% month-on-month, hitting its lowest level since November 2020, driven by lower world prices of palm and sunflower oils, which more than more than offset higher soy and rapeseed oil quotations.

The sugar price index fell 3.2% from May, marking its first decline after four consecutive monthly increases, mainly triggered by the good progress of the 2023/24 sugarcane harvest in Brazil and a sluggish global import demand, FAO said.

The dairy price index slipped 0.8% from May while the meat index was virtually unchanged.

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