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Food Prices Hit Record High in February

That’s according to the UN:

Global food prices have reached their highest point in 20 years and could increase further because of rising oil prices stemming from the unrest in Libya and the Mideast, a U.N. agency warned Thursday.Skyrocketing food prices have been among the triggers for protests in Egypt, Tunisia and elsewhere and raised fears of a repeat of the food price crises in 2007 and 2008.

Some experts point to key differences compared to those years: for one, the price of rice, an important food security commodity, is much lower today. Still, Oxfam called the hike “deeply worrying.”

The Food and Agriculture Organization said in a statement that its food price index was up 2.2 percent last month, the highest record in both real, inflation-corrected terms and nominal terms since the agency started monitoring prices two decades ago.

It also was the eighth consecutive month that food prices had risen, the Rome-based agency said. In January, the index had already registered a record peak

Global oil prices, which increased on concerns about the potential impact of supply disruptions following unrest in Libya, are a crucial variable.

“Unexpected oil price spikes could further exacerbate an already precarious situation in food markets,” said David Hallam, director of FAO’s trade and market division. “This adds even more uncertainty concerning the price outlook just as plantings for crops in some of the major growing regions are about to start.”

Oil prices affect food markets in many ways, from production to transport costs…

More here.

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