World food prices were virtually unchanged in December, with firmer cereal prices helping offset declines in dairy and sugar quotations, the United Nations food agency said on Thursday.
The Food and Agriculture Organization's (FAO) food price index, which measures monthly changes for a basket of cereals, oilseeds, dairy products, meat and sugar, averaged 161.7 points last month against 161.6 in November 2018.
In 2018 the index averaged 168.4 points, down 3.5% from 2017, and almost 27% below the highest level of 230 points reached in 2011, FAO said.
"Sugar values dropped the most in 2018, with also vegetable oil, meat and dairy prices registering year-on-year decreases. However, international prices of all major cereals rose in 2018," FAO said.
FAO did not provide a forecast for global cereals output. Its next forecast is due in February.