World food prices jumped 10 percent in July-World Bank
WASHINGTON, (Reuters) – World food prices jumped 10 percent in July as drought parched crop lands in the United States and Eastern Europe, the World Bank said in a statement urging governments to shore up programs that protect their most vulnerable populations.
From June to July, corn and wheat prices rose by 25 percent each, soybean prices by 17 percent, and only rice prices went down, by 4 percent, the World Bank said yesterday.
Overall, the World Bank’s Food Price Index, which tracks the price of internationally traded food commodities, was 6 percent higher than in July of last year, and 1 percent over the previous peak of February 2011.
U.S. soybean futures hit a record high of $17.78 per bushel in trading on Thursday, while corn futures remained near the record of $8.49 set earlier this month.
“We cannot allow these historic price hikes to turn into a lifetime of perils as families take their children out of school and eat less nutritious food to compensate for the high prices,” World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim said. “Countries must strengthen their targeted programs to ease the pressure on the most vulnerable population, and implement the right policies.” “Africa and the Middle East are particularly vulnerable, but so are people in other countries where the prices of grains have gone up abruptly,” Kim added.
A severe drought in the United States has sharply cut corn and soybean yields this year, while a dry summer in Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan has hurt wheat output.