ROME (AP) -- Global food prices fell slightly in May, but they will remain "at stubbornly high levels" for months to come, a U.N. agency said Tuesday.
The Food and Agriculture Organization said high and volatile prices can be expected the rest of this year and into 2012, citing a decline in food stockpiles and modest production increases for most of the crops.
Food prices dropped 1 percent in May compared to the previous month, but remain 37 percent above May 2010, according to a price index released by the agency. It said lower cereal and sugar prices led to the decrease in the May index, offsetting increases in meat and dairy prices.
The index hit an all-time high in February, raising fears of a repeat of the food crisis of 2007-2008, when high prices led to violence and political tensions in many parts of the world.
In its Food Outlook report, the FAO says the next few months will be crucial in determining how the major crops fare this year.
The 2011 cereals harvest is projected to hit a record high and register a 3.5 percent increase from last year, FAO said.