The UN's Food and Agriculture Organization's (FAO) Food Price Index climbed 6% in July 2012 after three months of decline. The Index, which measures the monthly change in the international prices of a basket of food commodities, averaged 213 points, up 12 points from June -- still well below the peak of 238 points reached in February 2011.
"The severe deterioration of maize crop prospects in the United States following extensive drought damage pushed up maize (corn) prices by almost 23% in July," says FAO. "International wheat quotations also surged 19% amid worsened production prospects in the Russian Federation and expectations of firm demand for wheat as feed because of tight maize supplies."
The FAO Cereal Price Index averaged 260 points in July, up 17%, or 38 points, from June. That was 14 points below its all-time high of 274 points in April 2008.
In contrast the FAO Meat Price Index averaged 168 points in July, down 1.7%, or 3 points from June and the third consecutive monthly fall. Market weakness characterized the four major meat sectors, in particular pigmeat, which saw prices fall by 3.6%.