PARIS— World food prices rose for a second consecutive month in September to reach a 10-year peak, driven by gains for cereals and vegetable oils, the United Nations (UN) food agency said yesterday.

The Rome-based Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) also projected record global cereal production this year, but it said this would be outpaced by forecast consumption.

FAO’s food price index, which tracks prices of the most globally traded food commodities, averaged 130 points last month, the highest since September 2011, according to the agency’s data. The figure compared with a revised 128.5 for August. The August figure was previously given as 127.4.

On a year-on-year basis, prices were up 32.8 per cent in September. Agricultural commodity prices have risen steeply in the past year, fuelled by harvest setbacks and Chinese demand.

The FAO’s cereal price index rose by 2 per cent in September from the previous month. That was led by a near 4 per cent increase for wheat prices, with the UN agency citing tightening export availabilities amid strong demand.

“Among major cereals, wheat will be the focus in the coming weeks as demand needs to be tested against fast rising prices,” FAO senior economist Abdolreza Abbassian said in a statement.

World vegetable oil prices were up 1.7 per cent on the month and showing a year-on-year rise of about 60 per cent, as palm oil prices climbed on robust import demand and concerns over labour shortages in Malaysia, FAO said.

Palm oil futures rallied further in early October to hit record highs as a surge in crude oil markets lent further support to vegetable oils used in biodiesel.

Global sugar prices rose 0.5 per cent in September with concern over adverse crop weather in top exporter Brazil partly offset by slowing import demand and a favourable production outlook in India and Thailand, according to FAO.

Global cereal stocks were expected to ease in 2021/22 but would still be at a comfortable level, FAO added.