The FAO Food Price Index, a monthly trade-weighted index tracking international market prices of five major food commodity groups, averaged 179.1 points in July, its highest value since January 2015, marking a 2.3% increase from June 2017 and a 10.2% rise from its level a year earlier. Global food prices rose for the third consecutive month in July, driven mainly by higher cereal, sugar and dairy quotations. The FAO Meat Price Index averaged 175.1 points in July, virtually unchanged from June but 8.2% above July 2016. The FAO Cereal Price Index, up 5.1% in July, has been rising consistently over the past three months, supported by firmer wheat and rice quotations. The FAO Dairy Price Index gained 3.6% in July, underpinned by stronger prices of butter, cheese and whole milk powder (WMP). Despite this latest increase, FAO said the index is still 21% below its peak reached in February 2014. The FAO Sugar Price Index rose 5.2% in July. The FAO Vegetable Oil Price Index fell 1.1% from June to its lowest level since August 2016.