MILAN, March 3 (Reuters) - The FAO index of global food prices climbed to a fresh record high in February, above 2008 peaks when high food prices sparked riots in several countries, U.N Food and Agriculture Organisation data showed on Thursday.
The index, which measures monthly price changes for a food basket composed of cereals, oilseeds, dairy, meat and sugar, averaged 236 points in February, the record in real and nominal terms, up 2.2 percent from January's record and rising for the eighth month in a row.
FAO said in a statement it expected a tightening of the global cereal supply and demand balance in 2010/11.
"In the face of growing demand and a decline in world cereal production in 2010, global cereal stocks this year are expected to fall sharply because of a decline in inventories of wheat and coarse grains, " the agency said.
FAO said it forecasts global wheat production to increase by around 3 percent in 2011.
Reporting by Svetlana Kovalyova; editing by Keiron Henderson