Libya has abolished taxes and custom duties on locally-produced and imported food products in response to a global surge in food prices, Oea online newspaper reported.

The decision by the Libyan government covers products such as wheat by-products, rice, vegetable oil, sugar and infant formula, Oea said.

Government officials in Tripoli declined to comment.

The decision follows violent clashes in neighbouring Algeria and Tunisia in recent days over grievances that included rising living costs.

Surging global food prices have already set warning lights flashing on inflation. Food prices hit a record high last month, according to the United Nations food agency, surpassing levels in 2008 that sparked riots in countries such as Egypt and Haiti.