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WORLD FOOD PRICES RISE

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) index of world food prices, which hit a three-year low in February, rose for a second straight month in April driven primarily by higher meat prices, although the rise was marginal. Cereal grain and vegetable oil prices also rose slightly in April, offsetting weaker sugar and dairy prices. The FAO index averaged 119.1 points in April, up 0.3% from a revised 118.8 points for March, the agency said on Friday. The FAO’s April reading was still down 7.4% from a year earlier. The FAO meat price index rose for a third straight month, gaining 1.9 points or 1.6%, as steady demand from Middle East nations and bird flu issues pushed poultry prices higher and beef prices were boosted by strong demand from major importers. Pork prices retreated slightly on slack demand in Western Europe and China.

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