Last month, world food prices recorded

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Global food prices fell the most since 2008 as concerns over supplies of grains and vegetable oils eased as Ukraine moved to resume exports, according to Bloomberg.

A United Nations index of world food costs fell nearly 9 percent in July. The index fell to its lowest level since January, before Russia’s blockade of ports in Ukraine — a major food exporter — pushed food costs to a record high.

The UN index fell for a fourth month, offering some relief to consumers facing a deepening cost-of-living crisis spanning everything from energy to transport. However, prices remain high, putting pressure on low-income households and exacerbating global hunger.

Wheat and corn prices fell last month after Moscow and Kyiv reached an agreement to reopen Ukraine’s port and the first ship left Odesa. But two weeks after the deal, a host of challenges remain before exports can be stepped up. Three more grain ships left the country’s ports on Friday.

“Increased seasonal availabilities in Argentina and Brazil, where maize harvests progressed ahead of last year’s pace, also helped ease price pressure,” FAO said in a statement.

The UN index tracks export prices for raw goods and excludes retail margins, so while it’s a more encouraging sign for consumers, they still face high prices. Africa’s Sahel region is facing its worst food security crisis in a decade, with tens of millions of people across the continent facing starvation.

Food giant Nestle SA pushed through a new round of price hikes for consumers in the second quarter as its own costs rose. Supermarket group Ocado said consumers were switching to cheaper products to save money.

Food prices had already risen during the pandemic as logistical crises caused problems and demand outstripped supply as the economy recovered.