World food prices extend decline as supply uptick offers relief

Food inflation shows no signs of easing in many nations. PHOTO: AFP

NEW YORK - Global food prices fell for a fifth month after demand for some products weakened and there was a seasonal uptick in supplies.

Wheat harvests in the northern hemisphere are helping ease supply constraints, while more grain trickles out of ports in Ukraine.

A United Nations index of world food costs dropped 1.9 per cent in August from the previous month, data showed Friday. The index remained at the lowest level since January.

Falling prices may offer some relief to consumers, as they grapple with a deepening cost-of-living crisis. Still, the declines are not as sharp as in July, when food prices plunged the most since 2008, and remain higher than a year ago.

Food inflation shows no signs of easing in many nations, with higher energy prices likely to boost processing costs.

Harvests may shrink in the long term as farmers curb fertiliser use.

Concerns over the impact of drought on corn harvests have partly offset declines in grain prices.

While more grain is leaving Ukraine, the volume is still far below the norm, and lost farmland and weak local prices are threatening its next wheat harvest.

The UN index tracks export prices for raw goods and excludes retail mark-ups, so it may take a while before their impact is felt by consumers. BLOOMBERG

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