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The world food price gauge – the FAO Food Price Index (FFPI) – dipped in May, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) reported.

Averaging 157.4 points in May, the FFPI was down 0.6% lower than the previous month, according to the 3 June report.

However, the FFPI was still 22.8% above its value in May last year.

Global food commodity prices declined modestly in May for the second consecutive month, the report said, with a drop in prices for vegetable oils and dairy products, while wheat, rice and poultry prices increased.

The FAO Vegetable Oil Price Index declined by 3.5% from its level in April, although remained markedly higher than last year’s levels.

Prices dropped for palm, sunflower, soyabean and rapeseed oils, due in part to the removal of Indonesia’s short-lived export ban on palm oil and sluggish global import demand for soyabean and rapeseed oils in view of elevated costs in recent months.

“Export restrictions create market uncertainty and can result in price spikes and increased price volatility, the decrease in oilseeds prices shows how important it is when they are removed and let exports flow smoothly,” FAO chief economist Maxime Torero Cullen said.

The FFPI tracks international prices of a basket of commonly-traded commodities, while the FAO's vegetable oil price index illustrates the changes in international prices of the 10 most important vegetable oils in world trade, weighted according to their export shares.