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ROME (Reuters) - The situation in the food market is different from the crisis of 2008 with little sign of the speculation seen four years ago and no panic buying, the head of the UN's food agency said on Thursday.

"In 2008 there was a substantial inflow of funds, and we don't see speculation playing a major role at moment," FAO director general Jose Graziano da Silva told a news conference in Rome.

"In 2008, there was a lot of panic buying, we don't see this at the moment," he said.

Earlier, the agency said that average food prices, which climbed to record levels earlier this year, appeared to have stabilized in August, with its monthly food index average unchanged from July.

(Reporting by Catherine Hornby, writing by Naomi O'Leary)

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