The latest FAO Food Price Index, released this week, remained largely unchanged from last month's at 206.7 points. Overall, the Index was slightly lower in 2013 than in 2012; food prices declined 1.6 percent in the past year. However, 2013 levels were still the third highest annual value on record.

The Cereal Price Index declined 1.4 percent from November due to record harvests and large global supplies, particularly for wheat and maize. On the other hand, rice prices rose slightly in December. In 2013, the Cereal Index fell by 17 points from 2012.

The Vegetable Oil Price Index declined 1.3 percent from last month, driven by weaker import demand for palm oil. Soybean oil prices also fell due to large South American harvests. Overall, vegetable oil prices fell to a four-year low in 2013, at 193 points.

By contrast, the Dairy Price Index averaged 243 points in 2013, the highest level seen since the Index was created. Meat prices also remained at historically high levels in 2013, but sugar prices fell by 18 percent.

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