ROME – In July, the FAO Food Price Index decreased for a fourth-consecutive month primarily due to a steep decrease in international prices for maize, wheat and certain oilseeds, reflecting ample supplies for these commodities. Meat prices, however, increased for the fifth-consecutive month.

"Livestock product markets have their own dynamics: in the case of meat, beef in particular, many exporting countries are in a herd rebuilding phase, which is limiting availability for exports and sustaining prices," said Concepción Calpe, FAO senior economist.

A continued strong demand for meat in Asia, particularly China, helped to increase the FAO Meat Price Index, which averaged 204.8 points in July, 3.7 points (1.8 percent) higher  than its revised value in June and 25.4 points (14.1 percent) above the same period last year. Average prices for poultry and ovine meat also increased, while those for pork fell back somewhat from the all-time high registered in June.

Based on the prices of a basket of internationally-traded food commodities, the FAO Food Price Index averaged 203.9 points in July 2014, down 4.4 points (or 2.1 percent) from a revised value in June and 3.5 points (or 1.7 percent) below the July 2013 level. "The lingering decline of food prices since March reflects much better expectations over supplies in the current and forthcoming seasons, especially for cereals and oils, a situation that is expected to facilitate rebuilding of world stocks," Calpe said.

Meanwhile, sugar prices remained firm.  The price decrease for grains, oilseeds, as well as dairy products pushed down the FAO Food Price Index to its lowest level since January 2014.