ROME -- A United Nations agency says prices for basic foods fell by one per cent last month, led by lower prices for cereals, oils and fats, further assurance that fears of high prices leading to rioting aren't bearing out.

The Food and Agriculture Organization said today that the trend in lower prices would likely mean that the 2012 bill for importing food around the world would be $1.14 trillion, down 10 per cent from 2011.

The heads of the three Rome-based UN food agencies had warned in September that higher food prices could trigger a repeat of the rioting and unrest that hit parts of the developing world in 2007-2008, when food prices rose sharply.

However, the latest FAO projections said prices averaged eight per cent lower during the first 10 months of 2012.