Bloomberg News

Global Food Imports May Be Record $1.29 Trillion, FAO Says

June 07, 2011

(Updates with FAO comment in third paragraph.)

June 7 (Bloomberg) -- Global food imports may rise 21 percent to a record $1.29 trillion this year, with “poorer” countries spending up to 30 percent more than last year, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations said.

Costs of grain-based commodities and vegetable oils may account for 40 percent of the increase, the FAO said in a report on its website today. Livestock bills may rise an average 17 percent, sugar and beverages by 26 percent and vegetables and fruits by 13 percent, it said.

“This is going to be quite an increase for countries which are already vulnerable, for countries which are already experiencing a strong food inflation,” Abdolreza Abbassian, a senior economist at the Rome-based FAO, said on an FAO webcast.

Food costs were near a record in May, buoyed by rising meat and dairy prices, the FAO said in a separate report today. Staple foods including corn will more than double in two decades unless action is taken, Oxfam International said last week.

“The supply situation as good as it may seem is barely meeting the demand and therefore prices remain at very stubbornly high levels,” Abbassian said. “They’ve been like this for almost six months and the prospects for the new season seem to suggest the same situation may prevail for still some time.”

--Editors: Claudia Carpenter, John Deane

To contact the reporter on this story: Claudia Carpenter in London at ccarpenter2@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Claudia Carpenter in London at ccarpenter2@bloomberg.net


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