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Ukrainian crisis causes two-year highs in food price growth

Food Price Index, a measure of the monthly change in international prices of a basket of food commodities, jumped the sharpest since mid-2012 in February 2014, says the official report by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). Such growth was due to both weather conditions and increased demand, but the crisis in Ukraine also contributed.

"The figures were released amid news reports of spikes in wheat and corn prices in response to recent developments in Ukraine, though the February increase in the Index cannot be entirely attributed to those events," goes the report.

The FAO Cereal Price Index was registered at 195.8 points, which is 6.8 points, or 3.6%, above the January figure. The growth reflected "concerns over wheat crops in the United States, a strong demand for coarse grains and high Japonica rice prices".

Prices of sugar, oils and dairy also increased noticeably as compared to January (6.2, 4.9 and 2.9% respectively).

In February 2014 the US Department of Agriculture upped the forecast for cereal exports from Ukraine in 2013-2014 marketing year by 1.6% to 31.18 million tons. World cereal harvest totalled 704 million tons last year.

[Source: Itar Tass, Moscow, 07Mar14]

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