Prices remain 2.5 percent higher than they were last October but
are now 27 percent below the record high hit in February 2011.
Agricultural commodities have emerged from a highly volatile
period and the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has
said it expects them to remain stable over the next decade.
The FAO index, which measures monthly changes for a basket of
cereals, oilseeds, dairy products, meat and sugar, averaged
176.4 points in October, down 1.3 percent from September.
Dairy prices were the biggest faller among the commodities
measured in October, falling 4.2 percent as importers held back
on purchases while awaiting new supplies while prices for skim
milk powder were pushed down by low demand and ample stocks.
Cereals markets are likely to be balanced in 2017-18, the FAO
said, forecasting that global production would surpass last
year's record harvest by a small margin, reaching 2.613 billion
Total production of coarse grains is forecast to reach a record
high, thanks to increases in South America and Southern Africa,
and global rice output is set to be broadly stable.
Wheat production, however, is due to decline by 1 percent from
last year to 752.8 million tonnes, mainly because of a smaller
harvest in the United States and an expected decline in
Australia's crop, the FAO said.
(Reporting by Isla Binnie; Editing by David Goodman)
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