Aviso LatAm: COVID-19 March 29, 2022

​​​​​What you should know

  • 248 million: The number of people in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) that have yet to receive a single COVID-19 vaccine dose.
  • Mexico-Russia: President Andrés Manuel López Obrador is moving forward with a plan to domestically package Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccines.
  • Paxlovid: Thirty-five companies signed agreements with Pfizer for its newly licensed oral COVID-19 treatment, allowing for production of a generic, low-cost version in low-income nations. 

Monitoring COVID-19 economic recovery in the region

  • Argentina: The Senate signed an agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to refinance $44 billion in debt days before a potential default. The agreement comes after a 4.7 percent increase in consumer prices in February, compared to 3.9 percent in January. The 12-month rolling inflation hit 52.3 percent in February. 
  • Brazil: The Central Bank raised interest rates to 11.75 percent and indicated its intent to end the aggressive cycle of interest rate increases during its next meeting in May.
  • Chile: GDP growth slowed in Q4 despite record growth in 2021. Higher private consumption increased the imports of durable goods, expanding the current account deficit to -6.6 percent of GDP up from -1.7 percent in 2020.
  • Colombia: The National Statistics Administrative Department (DANE) published its January 2022 survey of economic activity, indicating continued growth amid economic recovery.  Beverages, pharmaceutical products, and paper-related products were the best-performing industries, accounting for 30 percent of overall growth.
  • Peru: An ease of COVID-19 mobility restrictions and the reactivation of hospitality and transportation industries contributed 1.2 percentage points to January’s 2.9 percent GDP increase. However, uncertainty within the political environment caused a credit rating downgrade to BBB by Standard & Poor.

In focus: Reverberations of the Russian invasion of Ukraine in regional economies

Increased global commodity prices resulting from the Russian invasion of Ukraine could produce short-term benefits for the region’s commodity exporters. However, these gains will likely be counterbalanced by rising inflation and supply-chain disruptions. While Latin America is less reliant on Ukrainian and Russian wheat exports relative to Africa and the Middle East, skyrocketing fertilizer prices could significantly hurt Latin American agricultural producers and raise food prices regionally. Brazil, the world’s largest fertilizer importer, has begun to push local fertilizer output as global prices soar.

Higher import prices may affect not only net oil importers like Chile, but crude oil exporters like Colombia. Argentina and Ecuador, which had planned to cut fuel subsidies this year to comply with IMF conditionality, could now be faced with a difficult choice amid higher prices. According to the IMF, Latin America’s poorest countries will be hardest hit by the conflict-driven economic fallout due to inflationary pressures and increased food prices.

Health + Innovation

  • Caribbean: Ten countries have yet to reach the World Health Organization’s (WHO) goal of 40 percent vaccination coverage in 2021.
  • Trinidad and Tobago: The latest country to announce the relaxation of COVID-19 restrictions.
  • Mexico: Government officials reported 1,684 new confirmed cases, the lowest single-day count in 2022 so far, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 5,566,669.
  • 10,000: The number of COVID-19 vaccine doses Taiwan donated to Saint Lucia and St. Vincent and the Grenadines to help Caribbean allies combat the pandemic.
  • Brazil: Following determinations from its scientific committee, Rio de Janeiro is relaxing the use of masks as the COVID-19 pandemic wanes.

Vaccination by the numbers

Percentage of population with booster shot: Chile (81) #1 worldwide, Uruguay (62) #9 worldwide, Cuba (54) #18 worldwide, Argentina (41) #40 worldwide, Brazil (35) #46 worldwide, Peru (34) #47 worldwide, Panama (33) #49 worldwide, Costa Rica (32) #51 worldwide, Ecuador (29) #62 worldwide, El Salvador (23) #69 worldwide, Dominican Republic (21) #70 worldwide. Source: nytimes.com

Percentage of population fully vaccinated: Chile (91) #6 worldwide, Cuba (87) #8 worldwide, Argentina (82) #15 worldwide, Uruguay (82) #16 worldwide, Ecuador (79) #27 worldwide, Peru (79) #31 worldwide, Costa Rica (77) #32 worldwide, Brazil (75) #38 worldwide, Panama (70) #50 worldwide, Colombia (68) #55 worldwide. Source: nytimes.com

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.