Though steady on a monthly basis, global food prices in September remained above their level in the same month last year, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said on Thursday.
While sugar prices fell sharply, the decline was almost entirely offset by higher prices in vegetable oils and meats, the FAO said.
The FAO Food Price Index is a trade-weighted index that tracks international market prices of five major food commodity groups.
The cereal price index was shifted little from its August levels, but was lower than in September 2018 by 3.9 percent.
According to the agency, wheat prices were firmer amid brisk trade activity, though they remained well below the 11 percent seen during the same period last year, pressured by the overall good supply outlook.
“The FAO Sugar Price Index down nearly 3.9 percent from August, the month-on-month decline was largely driven by the expectation of ample sugar stocks due to positive production prospects,” it said.
Additionally, weaker international energy prices in the second half of September contributed to the decline in international sugar prices, encouraging producers to reduce the use of sugarcane for the production of ethanol.
Last month, the vegetable oil price index was up 1.4 percent from August, marking the highest level in 13 months.
The rise reflects firmer values for palm and rapeseed oils, the FAO noted.
The meat index posted a 0.8% rise while the dairy price index decreased 0.6% in September.