The Index averaged 231 points in January and was up 3.4 percent from December 2010. This is the highest level (both in real and nominal terms) since FAO started measuring food prices in 1990. Prices of all monitored commodity groups registered strong gains in January, except for meat, which remained unchanged.
The FAO Cereal Price Index averaged 245 points in January, up 3 percent from December and the highest since July 2008, but still 11 percent below its peak in April 2008. The increase in January mostly reflected continuing increases in international prices of wheat and maize, amid tightening supplies, while rice prices fell slightly, as the timing coincides with the harvesting of main crops in major exporting countries.
The Oils/Fats Price Index rose by 5.6 percent to 278 points, nearing the June 2008 record level, reflecting an increasingly tight supply and demand balance across the oilseeds complex.
By contrast, the FAO Meat Price Index was steady at around 166 points, as declining meat prices in Europe, caused by a fall in consumer confidence following a feed contamination scandal, was compensated for by a slight increase in export prices from Brazil and the United States.