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News in brief

June 3, 2023 at 2:36 a.m.

U.N. reports decline

in global food index

Global food costs fell to the lowest level in two years in May, reviving hopes that sticky inflation on supermarket shelves will start to ease.

A United Nations' index of food-commodity prices fell 2.6% in May, as declines in grains, vegetable oil and dairy offset higher sugar and meat costs. The gauge of prices for internationally-traded agricultural commodities has fallen 22% from the peak it reached in March last year following Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Wheat prices are trading near the lowest level in more than two years as bumper supplies from Russia weigh on the market, and European crops are in good condition. Still, declining commodities prices are taking time to feed through to consumers, with transportation, labor and energy costs remaining high.

While the U.N. food index has fallen for 13 of the past 14 months, that's had little impact on consumers, reflecting how prices of everyday items are at the mercy of broader economic drivers. High consumer food prices are also in some cases very local and specific to individual countries, according to Joseph Glauber, a senior fellow at the International Food Policy Research Institute.

"It's really the macroeconomy that is driving the food prices," Glauber said. "We see a number of macroeconomic factors including exchange rates, including energy prices, including wage price inflation and that sort of thing."

-- Bloomberg News (WPNS)

Ford recalls 140,000

Lincoln MKC SUVs

DETROIT -- Ford is telling owners of more than 140,000 SUVs in the U.S. to park them outside because they can catch fire even when the engines are turned off.

The company is recalling certain Lincoln MKC SUVs from the 2015 to 2019 model years. Ford says a short-circuit can develop in the 12-volt battery monitor sensor. It can overheat and cause an engine compartment fire while parked or in motion.

Owners are urged to park away from structures until the recall repair is made. The sensors can be damaged when the battery or related electrical parts are serviced.

Ford says in documents posted Friday by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that it has 19 reports of fires that may be related to the problem in the U.S., China and Canada. The company said it's not aware of any injuries.

Dealers will add a fuse to the battery monitor sensor power circuit. Owners will be notified by letter starting June 26.

-- The Associated Press

State index up 34.41

to end day at 786.84

The Arkansas Index, a price-weighted index that tracks the largest public companies based in the state, closed Friday at 786.84, up 34.41.

The index was developed by Bloomberg News and the Democrat-Gazette with a base value of 100 as of Dec. 30, 1997.

Print Headline: U.N. reports decline in global food index


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