The cost of living has continued to go up in Latin America, particularly in South American countries, even as central banks across the region raise interest rates in a bid to calm down inflation.
As of June 2022, inflation surpassed 10% in as many as 13 countries, according to the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC).
“South America had the highest levels of price increases. This is a reality that has led to mass protests and violence in some countries,” the report noted.
Brazil and Jamaica have jacked up interest rates more than 10 times in the past year and a half. Peru raised interest rates a record 12 times during the period.
Jamaica raised interest rates by 550 basis points, from 0.5% to 6% today, while Brazil increased rates from 2% a year earlier to 13.75% today.
The UN agency blames the war in Ukraine for inflation, saying the battle caused food and fuel shortages around the world.
Despite the soaring inflation, some countries have resisted the idea of raising rates. Honduras, for example, has not increased interest rates since 2020.
The rising cost of living is further widening the gap between the rich and the poor, stoking the fears of political of upheaval.
Panama has imposed price caps on 72 essential goods after people blocked highways and ports in protest against rising consumer prices.
Brazil has begun to dole out cash payouts to the poor and tax cuts on goods and gasoline to help people cope with the rising living cost.