UN predicts near record wheat production

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ROME (AP) — A U.N. food agency says the world is headed to the second largest wheat crop on record because of increased plantings in Europe and a recovery from drought in the U.S.

Production is expected to increase to 690 million tons, up 4.3 percent from 2012, the Rome-based Food and Agriculture Organization reported Thursday.

The production hike is expected mostly in Europe because of increased plantings in response to high prices and a recovery in yields in Russia and elsewhere. The outlook in the U.S. has improved in recent weeks, recovering from earlier drought conditions.

The agency also says the recently lower price of wheat kept the FAO's index of global food prices unchanged for the second consecutive month in February.

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