Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Global Food Prices Near 3-year Highs: World Bank

Global food prices held near three-year highs in July and stocks were low, piling on pressure on the world's poor, the World Bank said on Monday.

The World Bank Food Price index increased 33 percent in July from a year-ago and stayed close to 2008 peak levels, with large rises in the prices for maize, or corn, and sugar.

"Persistently high food prices and low food stocks indicate that we're still in the danger zone, with the most vulnerable people the least able to cope," said World Bank President Robert Zoellick.

High food and energy prices have stoked inflation pressures around the global, but the problem has been more acute in developing nations.

Although food prices are moderating in most advanced countries, uncertainties about the global economy and the political situation in the Middle East and North Africa mean oil prices likely will remain volatile, keeping inflation on the radar.

While overall food supply has improved since April -- mainly because of good wheat harvests in the United States and Europe and better maize yields in Argentina and Brazil -- global stocks remained "alarmingly" low, the World Bank said.