ROME, ITALY — Due to growing inventories of key staples the global agricultural food commodity prices fell in September, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations.

The FAO Food Price Index declined 1.4% from August and is now 7.4% below its level during September 2017.

The FAO Cereal Price Index dropped 2.8%, led by maize as expectations of a large crop in the United States pushed export quotations down, the FAO noted.

“International prices of rice and wheat also fell during the month, the latter due primarily to ongoing strong sales and shipments from Russia,” the FAO said.

The FAO Vegetable Oil Price Index posted its eighth consecutive monthly decline, dipping 2.3% to a three-year low.

With its Cereal Supply and Demand Brief, the FAO raised its forecast for this year’s global cereal production to 2.591 billion tonnes, still 2.4% below the record high of 2017.

“Reduced rainfall in Australia and Canada are expected to lower wheat yields, which, however, should be offset by higher outputs in Algeria and Russia,” the FAO said. “U.S. maize production is expected to reach its second highest level on record, more than offsetting downward revisions made for Russia. Global rice production is anticipated to rise 1.3%, surpassing last year’s all-time high, spurred by evidence of greater Asian plantings than previously expected, especially in India.”

The FAO expects world cereal utilization to rise to 2.647 billion tonnes in the 2018-19 season, up 1.1% from the estimated level for the previous year.

“Global trade in cereals is expected to approach 417 million tonnes, about 1% less than the record level of the 2017-18 marketing season,” the FAO said. “International trade volumes of wheat and rice are expected to decline, while those for maize to increase.”

World cereal stocks by the close of seasons in 2019 are forecast at 751.3 million tonnes, about 7% below their record-high opening level, with significant decreases of wheat inventories expected in the E.U. and Russia.