FAO: March food prices off record high, ready to rebound

MILAN - Global food prices came offrecord highs in March after unrest in the Arab world and Japan'searthquake, but new increases are in sight as demand grows andsupplies tighten, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization said.

Rising food prices have climbed to the top of theinternational political agenda after contributing to proteststhat toppled the rulers of Tunisia and Egypt earlier this year,with unrest spreading across North Africa and the Middle East.

The FAO food price index, which measures monthly pricechanges for a food basket composed of cereals, oilseeds, dairy,meat and sugar, averaged 229.8 points in March, down fromFebruary's record of 236.8 points -- falling for the first timeafter eight months of rises.

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