Global food prices reached their highest monthly average in January since July 2014 following a steady eight-month rise, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said Thursday.

The FAO Food Price Index climbed 4.3%, or 4.7 points, from December 2020, averaging 113.3 points in January.

Strong gains in the sugar, cereals and vegetable oils sub-indices drove the increase, while meat and dairy values were also up, though to a lesser extent.

This figure is a trade-weighted index that tracks the international market prices of five major food commodity groups.

Rising by 8.1% from the previous month, the sugar price index surged the most as robust global import demand spurred concerns about declining availabilities.

The FAO Cereal Price Index in January posted a sharp 7.1% monthly rise, led by international maize prices.

Last month, the vegetable oil price index went up 5.8% to its highest level since May 2012.

In its eighth consecutive monthly rise, the FAO Dairy Price Index climbed to 1.6% during this period.

The FAO Meat Price Index marked an increase for a fourth consecutive month, up 1% from December 2020 due to brisk global imports of poultry meat.

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