World Bank: Increasing food prices threaten the poor

Posted By: Pti
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World Bank
Jakarta, Aug 19: The high level of global food prices combined with continued volatility will put the poorest people in the developing world at risk, the World Bank said today (Aug 19).

"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," World Bank's President Robert Zoellick said in a press release adding that vigilance was vital given the uncertainties and volatility that exists today.

A World Bank Group's Food Price Watch said that global food prices in July 2011 remain significantly higher than a year ago. Prices overall remained 33 percent higher than a year ago with commodities such as maize (up 84 percent), sugar (up 62 percent), wheat (up 55 percent) and soybean oil (up 47 percent) contributing to the increase.

Crude oil prices were 45 percent higher from July 2010 levels, affecting production costs and the price of fertilisers, which increased by 67 percent over the same period.

Prices from April through July settled roughly five percent below the recent spike in February 2011 due to modest declines in grains, fats and oil, and other foods such as meat, fruits, and sugar.

However, prices of some commodities remained volatile during this period. For example, maize and wheat prices declined in June and then increased in the first half of July.

The price of rice fell from February to May, but has since increased.

The quarterly report warns that vigilance is needed as global food stocks remain low and expected volatility in the prices of sugar, rice, and petroleum products could have unexpected effects on food prices in the months ahead.


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