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Food Prices Fell in December After Record 2022

FILE: An onion seller sorts bags of onions at the Notto Gouye Diama market, one of the main markets for agricultural products in the Thies region, on July 17, 2021. - In a satellite town of Senegal's capital Dakar

World food prices fell for a ninth month in a row in December, though they hit their highest level on record for the full year in 2022, UN data showed Friday.

The Food and Agriculture Organization said Friday its price index, which tracks the monthly change in international prices of a basket of food commodities, fell to 132.4 points in December, a 1.9 percent drop from November.

It was also one percent lower than in December 2021.

But the index was 14.3 percent higher overall in 2022 compared to the previous year as it reached an all-time high of 143.7 points.

"Calmer food commodity prices are welcome after two very volatile years," FAO chief economist Maximo Torero said in a statement.

"It is important to remain vigilant and keep a strong focus on mitigating global food insecurity given that world food prices remain at elevated levels," he said.

Torero said many staples are near record highs, with prices of rice rising and "still many risks associated with future supplies."

Food prices soared to a monthly record high in March after Russia invaded agricultural powerhouse Ukraine, a major supplier of wheat and cooking oil to the world.

A Russian naval blockade that prevented Ukrainian grain exports was lifted following a deal in July that was brokered by Turkey and the United Nations.