Global prices of key staple food commodities including vegetable oils rose in April, marking the third consecutive monthly increase after four years of decline, according to the FAO Food Price Index.

The index – a trade-weighted index tracking international market prices for major cereals, vegetable oils, dairy, meat and sugar – averaged 151.8 points in April 2016, a 0.7% increase from March.

“That is about 10% below its level a year ago and more than a third off its 2011 highs,” the FAO said on 5 May.

“The gradual increase is far from even across the board. April's increase was driven by palm oil prices and, in a minor key, cereals, while sugar prices tapered down after a strong increase in March.”

The FAO said its food price index’s decline over the past year reflected ample food supplies, a slowing global economy and a stronger US dollar.

The FAO Vegetable Oil Price index rose 4.1%, due largely to a grim 2016 production outlook for palm oil coupled with a growing worldwide demand, it said.

“Sugar and vegetable oils are the only sub-indexes currently at levels higher than those of April 2015.”