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Global vegetable oil prices reached a new record high last month, according to the benchmark United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Food Price Index released on 4 March.

The index tracks changes in the international prices of the most globally traded food commodities.

Averaging 201.7 points in February, a 15.8 point rise month-on-month and marking a new record high, the increase in the FAO vegetable oil index was driven by rising palm, soya and sunflower oil prices, according to the report.

“In February, international palm oil prices increased for the second consecutive month due to the sustained global import demand that coincided with reduced export availabilities from Indonesia, the world’s leading palm oil exporter,” the FAO said.

Global soya oil values also continued to rise due to deteriorating soyabean production prospects in South America, according to the report.

“International sunflower oil prices also increased markedly, underpinned by concerns over the disruptions in the Black Sea region. Surging crude oil prices also lent support to the vegetable oil complex,” the FAO added.

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.