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INTERNATIONAL - World food prices fell in August from the month before as the prospect of bumper harvests pushed down cereal values, the UN food agency said yesterday. 

Despite the drop, food on international markets remained 6% more expensive than a year earlier. Food commodities have emerged from an era of intense volatility and the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) expects them to remain stable over the next decade. 

The FAO’s food price index, which measures monthly changes for a basket of cereals, oilseeds, dairy products, meat and sugar, averaged 176.6points in August, down 1.3% from July. The cereals sub-index fell 5.4% due to expectations of higher production, especially in the Black Sea region. 

Meat and sugar prices also declined due to high supply forecasts. Global cereals output is expected to hit an all-time high of 2.611billion tons in the 2017-18 season, up 18.4million tons on the previous month’s forecast, the FAO said, and worldwide stocks are also set to hit a new record. 

Food prices rose steadily in the three months before August.