Yemenis displaced by the conflict, receive food aid and supplies to meet their basic needs, at a camp in Hays district in the war-ravaged western province of Hodeida on Aug 31, 2022. (KHALED ZIAD / AFP)
PARIS - The United Nations food agency's world price index fell marginally in November, marking an eighth straight monthly fall since a record high in March after the conflict in Ukraine started.
The Food and Agriculture Organization's (FAO) price index, which tracks the most globally traded food commodities, averaged 135.7 points last month, down from 135.9 for October, the agency said on Friday.
The October figure was unchanged from the FAO's previous estimate.
The FAO warned last month that expected record food import costs in 2022 would lead the poorest countries to cut back on shipped volumes
Lower readings for cereals, meat and dairy products in November offset higher prices for vegetable oils and sugar, the FAO said.
ALSO READ: FAO: 2022 food import costs hit record, poorest threatened
Last month's agreement to prolong a UN-backed grain export channel from Ukraine for another 120 days has tempered worries about disruption to massive Black Sea trade.
The slight decrease in November meant that the FAO food index is now only 0.3 percent above its level a year earlier, the agency said.
The indicator, however, remains at historically high levels after reaching a 10-year peak in 2021 owing to harvest setbacks and brisk demand.
The FAO warned last month that expected record food import costs in 2022 would lead the poorest countries to cut back on shipped volumes.
ALSO READ: Ukraine crisis threat to global food security
In separate cereal supply and demand estimates, the FAO lowered its forecast for global cereal production in 2022 to 2.756 billion tonnes from 2.764 billion estimated last month.
The forecast was 2 percent below the estimated output for 2021 and would mark a three-year low, the FAO said.
The downward revision to the global cereal crop projection mainly reflected weak maize (corn) prospects in Ukraine, with the conflict making post-harvest operations prohibitively expensive, it said.
Projected world cereal stocks by the end of the 2022/23 season were revised down by 1.1 million tonnes to 839 million tonnes, 2.2 percent below the previous season and the lowest level for three years.
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The 2022/23 global cereal stock-to-use ratio, often used as a supply indicator, would drop to its lowest since 2013/14, but at a forecast 29.3 percent it would still represent a relatively comfortable level, the FAO added.
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