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World food prices drop for seventh month: FAO

World food prices dropped for the seventh month in a row February as falling cereal prices outweighed more costly sugar and meat, the Food and Agricultural Organization said Friday.The United Nations agency said its FAO Food Price Index dropped 0.7 percent in February and is down 10.5 percent from a year ago.The FAO index measures commodity market prices, and it can take a while for these to filter through to supermarket shelves. They represent only a fraction of the cost of processed final products.Cereals alone dropped five percent during the month and 22.4 percent from February last year, driven lower by corn “amid expectations of large harvests in South America and competitive prices offered by Ukraine,” the FAO said.Wheat was pulled lower by stronger Russian exports and rice prices also fell.Vegetable oils also largely fell due to abundant harvests in South America.Sugar, however, rose 3.2 percent during the month because of dry weather in Brazil.The meat index rose 1.8 percent during the month as heavy rains disrupted cattle transportation in Australia and Chinese demand for pork grew amid tight supplies in Europe.

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