WRAPUP 4-G20 to tackle food prices as countries reassure

Fri Jan 7, 2011 9:10pm GMT

* G20 in working group talks on food security - official

* Thailand vows to maintain rice exports at 2010 level

* WFP says sugar and cooking oil boosting overall prices (Adds Latin American inflation rising on food costs)

By Kim Yeonhee

SEOUL, Jan 7 (Reuters) - The world's biggest economies are working to find ways to bring down soaring food prices, a G20 official said on Friday, as top exporter Thailand vowed to keep rice supply steady and avert a repeat of the 2008 food crisis.

Global food prices hit a record high last month, outstripping the levels that sparked riots in several countries in 2008, and key grains could rise further, the United Nations' food agency said this week.

Policymakers are concerned that, if unchecked, rising food prices could stoke inflation, protectionism and unrest.

High food prices and unemployment were blamed for a second day of rioting in Algeria Friday with police deployed around mosques and authorities suspending football matches.

Rhee Chang-yong, who represents South Korea at the G20, said working-group talks were under way aimed at improving global cooperation to resolve food security problems.   Continued...

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