Aviso LatAm: COVID-19 May 21, 2022

​​​​​What you should know

  • Argentina: Annual inflation is expected to reach 60 percent this year. Prices have already risen 23.1 percent since January 1, indicating a stagnated recovery.
  • PAHO: Launched the Information Platform on Health and Migration in the Americas initiative to help countries safeguard the right to health of migrants in the region.

Monitoring COVID-19 economic recovery in the region

  • Mexico: Recorded a 25 percent increase in remittance flows following an increase of transit migrants en route to the United States in 2021.
  • Brazil: Inflation reached 12.1 percent, far above the 3.5 percent target. The Central Bank will likely continue to raise interest rates after already raising rates to 12.8 percent from a 2.0 percent record low in March 2021.
  • Colombia: Estimates indicate the economy grew about 7.5 percent in the first quarter of 2022, a decrease from 10.8 percent at the end of 2021.  
  • Uruguay: The Central Bank increased its benchmark interest rate to 9.3 percent, signaling that borrowing costs will keep rising as monetary policy tightens to fight inflation.
  • Chile: Congress approved an increase in the minimum wage to address soaring inflation. Transitional compensation will help small and medium businesses adjust to the change.

In focus: Remittances flows to Latin America and the Caribbean

Remittances to Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) surged to $131 billion in 2021, a 25.3 percent increase from 2020 due to the strong job recovery for foreign-born workers in the United States. Countries registering the highest growth rates included Guatemala (35 percent), Ecuador (31 percent), Honduras (29 percent), and Mexico (25 percent).

Remittances are a major source of hard currency for LAC, which is one of the top remittances receiving region in the world. For some countries, including El Salvador, Honduras, Jamaica, and Haiti, remittance flows represent at least 20 percent of GDP. In 2022, remittances are expected to increase by 9.1 percent, though downside risks remain, including the costs of cross-border remittance flows.

Health + Innovation

  • 918,000: The number of new cases recorded last week in the Americas, a 27.2 percent increase over the previous week.
  • Argentina: Health Minister Carla Vizzotti announced a fourth wave of COVID-19 as weekly recorded cases increased by 92 percent.
  • Food crisis: In 2021, nearly one million more people faced food insecurity in El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, and Nicaragua due to rising food prices coupled with COVID-19’s economic effects.
  • Central America: In the last week, new COVID-19 infections rose by 80 percent.
  • 120,000: The number of new COVID-19 cases recorded in Brazil from May 9-15, a nine percent increase over the previous week.

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.