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Good news for consumers facing higher inflation as the rise in international food prices seems to have stalled thanks to falling sugar and vegetable oil markets.

The UN Food and Agriculture Organization said that its March food price index declined 2.8 per cent from the previous month, although it was still 13 per cent ahead year-on-year.

With the exception of meat, food commodities in the index declined, with sugar down 11 per cent from February to the lowest level since May 2016. Vegetable oils also retreated with palm and soyabean oils weakening.

The FAO expects another good harvest in 2017 barring adverse weather events in growing regions, with cereal production at 2.6bn tonnes, just below the 2016 record. Agricultural trading bosses told the Financial Times Commodities Global Summit last month that key food markets were likely to remain oversupplied for the next few years.

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2017. All rights reserved.

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