UN: Global food demand to outpace supply next yearA discouraging report on the future global food supply has helped propel food prices to their highest levels ever, according to a published report.

The United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said that global wheat consumption rates next year will erode inventories, leading to supply shocks that will likely cause prices to continue to climb. The global output of wheat, which is a food staple across the world, will rise 3.2 percent to 673.6 million metric tons in the season starting in July, the report projects.

However, demand is forecast at 677 million metric tons by the FAO. The report also stated that food imports will likely jump by 21 percent to a record $1.29 trillion this year on increased demand and shocks to crops caused by inclement weather. Food prices have hovered near record levels for the better part of the last year on supply and demand fundamentals.

"The high-price situation is not something that’s just going to vanish over one season," FAO senior economist Abdolreza Abbassian said. "The fundamentals are still what they are, a very tight situation for almost all commodities."

While high food prices have only affected Americans moderately, they contributed to the spate of revolutions that overthrew governments during the Arab Spring. In 2008, skyrocketing food costs fueled a wave of food riots throughout the world.
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