Aviso LatAm: July 9, 2022

​​​​​What you should know

  • Argentina: Economy Minister Martin Guzmán resigned.
  • 79 percent: The share of Latin America and the Caribbean’s (LAC) children whose learning foundation falls short of their current schooling year.
  • 27.9 million: The number of acutely food-insecure people in LAC as of June 2022, a six-fold increase compared to pre-pandemic levels of 4.3 million in early 2020.

Monitoring COVID-19 economic recovery in the region

  • Peru: The Central Bank is expected to raise its interest rate by half a percentage point as inflation hits 25-year high.
  • Mexico: Annual inflation hit a 21-year high in June 2022, suggesting the central bank will have to continue its monetary tightening to take spiraling consumer prices.
  • Brazil: Unemployment fell below 10 percent for the first time since 2016, beating  projections. 
  • Ecuador: Government officials met with indigenous protestors after President Guillermo Lasso lifted a state of emergency and agreed to new spending on fertilizers, health, and education.  
  • Colombia: President-elect Petro nomination of José Antonio Ocampo as finance minister received positive reactions. Ocampo previously served as finance minister, advised centrist candidate Sergio Fajardo, and worked for ECLAC. 
  • Jamaica: The Statistics Institute (STATIN) reported 8.2 percent GDP growth during the 2021-22 fiscal year driven by a boost in tourism and an ease in COVID-19 restrictions.
  • El Salvador: The government’s bitcoin holdings have lost about 60 percent of their presumed value during the recent market plunge. 
  • 15 percent: The share of adults in LAC that made a digital utility payment for the first time since the pandemic outbreak, nearly twice the developing economy average.

In focus: Argentina’s economy

Argentina’s economy minister, Martin Guzmán, resigned on July 3. Guzmán led Argentina’s recent debt negotiations, including its $44 billion restructuring deal with the International Monetary Fund (IMF). His departure also highlights alleged tensions within the governing coalition, including with Vice President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, who has repeatedly criticized the administration’s economic policies . Argentina faces inflation of over 60 percent and pressure on exchange rates

President Fernández named Silvina Batakis, former economy minister in the provincial government of Buenos Aires and ally of Fernández de Kirchner, as Guzman’s replacement. Debt negotiations scheduled to take place in Paris were cancelled and will be rescheduled in light of the change.  

Health + Innovation

  • Uruguay: A court ruled that the government and Pfizer must disclose the exact components of the COVID-19 vaccine in light of an injunction to halt vaccination among children aged five and over.
  • PAHO: Over 1.6 billion COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered in member countries, 17 of which have passed the 70 percent target for national vaccination rate. 
  • Peru: A mandatory mask mandate was reinstated amid a fourth wave of COVID-19 infections.
  • Bolivia: Over 2,000 new cases of COVID-19 have been reported since June, the highest number of infections since the fifth wave of the pandemic started last month.

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.