Poverty in Latin America and the Caribbean in 2022 higher as war in Ukraine rages – UN study

Peruvians protest outside a roadblock in the Cusco region of the Andean nation against an increase in the cost of living triggered by the Russian invasion of Ukraine, outside Cuzco, Peru on April 19 2022. REUTERS/Alessandro Cinque

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June 6 (Reuters) – A United Nations commission has raised its projection of poverty in Latin America and the Caribbean for 2022, citing economic disruption caused by the conflict in Ukraine.

Poverty in Latin America and the Dominican Republic will reach 33% of the population this year, an increase of 0.9 percentage points compared to 2021. Extreme poverty will reach 14.5% this year, or 0.7 points percentage more than in 2021, according to a study published by the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (Cepal).

Rising fuel prices and problems with the supply of fertilizers and wheat caused by the war in Ukraine have stoked inflation while intensifying hunger, casting doubts on the region’s growth prospects, said the UN agency.

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Cepal has warned of a significant increase in the number of people in the region deemed to be food insecure.

“These levels are significantly higher than those seen before the pandemic and push away the possibility of a rapid recovery.”

The UN arm recently cut its estimates for economic growth in Latin America and the Caribbean for 2022, citing economic disruption caused by the conflict in Ukraine.

The predominantly Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking region is expected to grow 1.8% in 2022, revised down from an earlier growth forecast of 2.1%.

Inflation in Latin America and the Caribbean more than doubled between the end of 2020 and the end of 2021, reaching 6.6%. Cepal forecasts consumer prices to rise 8.1% in the 12 months to April 2022.

Economies in the region were experiencing a slowdown in growth and trade this year even before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in late February, as well as the ongoing slowdown from the coronavirus pandemic.

Latin American countries are facing “internal contexts characterized by a sharp slowdown in economic activity, an increase in inflation and a slow and incomplete recovery of labor markets, which increases poverty and inequalities” , says the report.

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Reporting by Natalia Ramos; Written by Carolina Pulice; Editing by David Alire Garcia and Leslie Adler

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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