What you should know
- Over two-thirds: The share of people in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) that have received two COVID-19 vaccine doses.
- PAHO: COVID-19 cases and deaths declined in the Americas despite increases in North America.
- Second COVID-19 summit: Co-hosted by Belize, Germany, Indonesia, Senegal, and the United States, this global gathering intends to build momentum for vaccine donations and end the “acute phase” of the pandemic.
Monitoring COVID-19 economic recovery in the region
- Colombia: According to the national statistical agency (DANE), economic activity continues to increase. The February 2022 Economic Activity Indicator expanded 8.1 percent year-on-year (y/y) across all sectors.
- Peru: February GDP growth reached the highest rate in five months, totaling a 4.9 percent y/y increase. However, according to the National Statistics Institute (INEI), demand for construction fell 2.5 percent y/y, reflecting low private and public investment in infrastructure and residential construction projects.
- Chile: Inflation rate in March exceeded the highest projections by 0.7 percent to 1.9 percent month-to-month (m/m). This spike reflects overall increases in food, energy, and core good prices.
- Mexico: According to the National Institute of Statistics and Geography (INEGI), y/y inflation rate in March reached the highest levels since 2001. Scotiabank analysts expect inflation to hit 8.3 percent by the end of the year.
- Guyana: Cumulative economic growth rate since the onset of the pandemic reached 72 percent—highest among all countries in the region—thanks to offshore oil discoveries.
In focus: Inflationary shocks strike Latin America and the Caribbean
Inflation among Latin America’s largest economies reached its highest levels in 15 years. According to the World Bank, energy and food were the main contributors to inflation in 2021, accounting for more than 90 percent of inflation in Costa Rica, 75 percent in Paraguay, and 66 percent in Brazil. Projections suggest that inflation will increase further in 2022 due mainly to rising global commodity prices, supply chain disruptions, and the Russia-Ukraine War.
A cause for concern: The reverberations of high inflation in the region are regressive, with low income households expected to experience steeper costs-of-living. This could exacerbate already prevalent social discontent.
Health + Innovation
- P.1 variant: The highly contagious Brazilian variant is driving the surge in cases in South America and some Caribbean countries. Cumulative cases in the sub-region are approaching 23 million.
- Brazil: The Butantan Institute and Fiocruz Health Institute face supply constraints amid mounting pressure to scale up vaccine roll-out.
- Covaxin: Ocugen, a biotechnology company, gained rights to market its COVID-19 vaccine in Mexico following Emergency Use Authorization from health authorities.
- Mexico: Senior government officials confirmed that certain groups of people may be eligible to receive a second COVID-19 booster shot.
Geopolitics of vaccine donations: US vs. China
- The United States outpaces China in its donations of COVID-19 vaccines to Latin America and the Caribbean, with Colombia and Mexico topping the list. The region has received roughly 52 percent of all US COVID-19 vaccine donations. To learn more, visit our COVID-19 vaccine tracker: Latin America and the Caribbean.