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WASHINGTON, April 25 (Reuters) - Global food prices rose in the first four months of 2012, pushed higher by volatile world oil prices, strong demand for food imports from Asia and adverse weather conditions in parts of Europe, South America and United States, the World Bank said on Wednesday.
The latest World Bank food price index shows the cost of food increased by eight percent between December and March, just 6 percent below their February 2011 historical peak.
The poverty-fighting institution said the prices of all key staple foods rose over the four-month period except for rice. It said abundant supplies of rice and strong competition among exporters pushed the international rice price lower.
If current food production forecast for 2012/2013 do not materialize, global food prices could reach higher levels and required close monitoring, the World Bank cautioned.
Developing economies were hit by a food and energy price crisis in 2008, sparking social unrest and prompting food export bans in some countries that pushed prices higher.
Reporting by Lesley Wroughton; Editing by Theodore d'Afflisio