UNITED NATIONS, Aug. 4 (Xinhua) -- The international prices for major food commodities saw a modest decline in July following five consecutive months of increase, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said on Thursday.

The FAO Food Price Index (FPI) averaged 161.9 points in July 2016, slipping 0.8 percent (1.3 points) below its level in June and 1.4 percent below its level of July 2015, UN officials said here, quoting the latest FAO report.

The overall decline of the price index was largely caused by drops in international quotations of grains and vegetable oils, more than offsetting firmer dairy, meat and sugar prices.

The FAO Food Price Index is a trade-weighted index tracking international market prices for five major food commodity groups.

The FAO Cereal Price Index fell 5.6 percent from June, led by a sharp drop in maize prices due to favourable weather conditions in the key growing regions of the United States -- the world's largest maize producer and exporter.

Wheat prices also fell in July mainly driven by large global supplies and prospects for abundant export availabilities from the Black Sea region. By contrast, rice prices strengthened somewhat, as dwindling availabilities underpinned Basmati and long-grain quotations.

Falling for the third consecutive month, the FAO Vegetable Oil Price Index dropped 2.8 percent from its level in June.

The slide was mainly driven by palm oil, whose price dropped to a five-month low, reflecting a seasonal recovery in production in Southeast Asia combined with subdued global import demand.

International prices for soybean, sunflower and rapeseed oil also eased on better than earlier anticipated supply prospects, said the officials.

The FAO Dairy Price Index rose by 3.2 percent from the previous month, with butter prices seeing the sharpest rise in the group. Yet, they remain at very low levels compared to recent years.

The FAO Meat Price Index increased by 1.3 percent from its revised June value. Quotations for all meat products remained firm, underpinned by a shortage of pigs for slaughter in the European Union and reduced output of sheep and bovine meat in Oceania.

International demand for meat remains strong, supported by a recovery in purchases by China and sustained imports by several countries elsewhere in Asia.

The FAO Sugar Price Index rose 2.2 percent in the month. International sugar prices were largely influenced by movements in real, the Brazilian currency, which strengthened against the U.S. dollar in July.

China will hold military exercises this week in the South China Sea ahead of a UN arbitration ruling nike air max plus tn ultra italia , with analysts saying the drills are meant for peacekeeping while showing that China is capable of defending its territorial sovereignty.

The Maritime Safety Administration of China on Sunday posted a notice on its official website, saying that military exercises in certain waters of the South China Sea will be held from Tuesday to July 11, and all civilian vessels will be prohibited from those areas.

The exercises will finish one day before the UN arbitration court announces its decision on the South China Sea case initiated by the Philippines against China.

"China gave coordinates for the drills that cover an area from the east of China's Hainan Island down to and including the Xisha Islands," Reuters reported Sunday.

The Hong Kong Economic Times reported Wednesday that warships from the three fleets of the Chinese navy were spotted at the Sanya military port nike air max plus rosse italia , Hainan. The warships allegedly included the guided missile destroyer Shenyang under the North China Sea Fleet, the guided missile destroyer Ningbo and the missile frigate Chaozhou under the East China Sea Fleet.

An official from the defense ministry told the Global Times on Thursday that this is a routine exercise according to an annual plan.

"The timing of the exercises in the South China Sea is subtle, but it's not necessary to link it with the arbitration, because the exercise is a routine activity that was planned a long time ago nike air max plus donna italia ," Liu Feng, an expert on Chinese maritime issues, told the Global Times on Sunday.

Wang Xiaopeng, a maritime border expert at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences nike air max plus nere italia , told the Global Times the drill is a normal naval activity to methodically maintain regional stability, which is not connected with specific events or targeted at certain countries.

The situation in the South China Sea is sensitive. However, given the sluggish global economy, it is more essential to improve regional cooperation nike air max plus bianche italia , instead of making trouble like the US and Japan, Liu said.

Currently, there are some unstable elements in the area, mainly because of persistent intervention from the US and the arbitration case initiated by the Philippines nike air max plus uomo italia , which have overshadowed the security of the area, Wang said.

China will continue constructing on reefs in the area and improve naval power in order to maintain regional peace and show the outsiders that China has the capability to maintain its own sovereign security, Liu noted.

Sino-Russian cooperation

China's defense ministry spokesperson Wu Qian confirmed to the Global Times at a press briefing on Thursday that China and Russia were negotiating on the "Joint Sea-2016" drills.

China and Russia have held six joint naval exercises since 2005.

In August 2015, 23 vessels and two submarines participated in the Joint Sea-2015 (II) exercise nike air max plus toddler italia , which took place in the Peter the Great Gulf, the waters off Clerk Cape, and the Sea of Japan, the Xinhua News Agency reported.

In previous exercises when China served as the host nike air max plus sunset italia , the directing fleets were the North China Sea Fleet and the East China Sea Fleet respectively. Therefore, this time it is very likely that the South China Sea Fleet will take its turn as the main power, and t. Cheap Flyers Jerseys   Cheap Calgary Flames Jerseys   Wholesale Devils Jerseys   Wholesale Canucks Jerseys   Wholesale Capitals Jerseys   Wholesale Team Canada Hockey Jerseys   Wholesale St.Louis Blues Jerseys   Wholesale Houston Texans Jerseys   Wholesale Baltimore Ravens Jerseys   Wholesale Carolina Panthers Jerseys