Moneycontrol PRO

Charting the global economy: Export limits worsen food security

In the US, consumer spending held up well despite decades-high inflation, and showed more evidence that they’re dipping into their savings to support purchases.

May 28, 2022 / 10:09 PM IST
Global economy | Representative image

Global economy | Representative image

India and Malaysia are among several Asian countries restricting exports of certain key commodities as nations try to safeguard supplies over concerns of food security and inflation.

Thai producers of sugar, chicken and rice look set to benefit as they enjoy strong harvests this year after back-to-back droughts. Meantime, Brazilians faced the highest-ever levels of hunger in the pandemic, disproportionately affecting the poor and women.

In the US, consumer spending held up well despite decades-high inflation, and showed more evidence that they’re dipping into their savings to support purchases. China’s economy remained deep in a slump in May as lockdowns continued to weigh on activity.

ALSO READ: US weekly jobless claims fall; first-quarter economic contraction confirmed

Here are some of the charts that appeared on Bloomberg this week on the latest developments in the global economy:

COVID-19 Vaccine

Frequently Asked Questions

View more
How does a vaccine work?

A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.

How many types of vaccines are there?

There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.

What does it take to develop a vaccine of this kind?

Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.

View more


Source: USDA Foreign Agricultural Service. (NOTE: Based on 2020-21 data)

India will restrict sugar exports as a precautionary measure to safeguard its own food supplies, another act of protectionism after banning wheat sales just over a week ago. The country was the world’s biggest sugar exporter after Brazil last year, and counts Bangladesh, Indonesia, Malaysia and Dubai among its top customers.

Source: Bloomberg Economics

The double crises of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and China’s new pandemic lockdowns are jolting the world recovery by exacerbating inflation and hurting growth, according to new research from Bloomberg Economics.

Hawkish Stance | More than 60 central banks have hiked rates this year

Central banks in Pakistan, Ghana, Israel, Nigeria, New Zealand, South Korea and Guatemala hiked interest rates this week. Policy makers in Russia cut rates in an effort to prop up its economy, but it has still boosted more than lowered rates for the year.


Slump Continues | China's economy worsened in May from April

China’s economy remained deep in a slump in May as lockdowns continued to weigh on activity, and as the threat of omicron and expanded restrictions dampened sentiment. That’s the outlook based on Bloomberg’s aggregate index of eight early indicators for this month.

Slice of Pie | Singapore gets a third of its chicken supply from Malaysia

A plate of chicken rice, one of Singapore’s most popular meals, is poised to get more expensive after Malaysia moved to restrict exports. “If it’s persistent and, more worryingly, reflective of more protectionist measures by other countries over food security and inflation concerns, then this could be a lose-lose scenario for everyone,” said Selena Ling, head of Treasury Research & Strategy at Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp.

Thailand's sugar and rice exports bounce back as food protectionism spreads

Thailand -- a major exporter of sugar, chickens and rice -- looks set to benefit as many of its Asian neighbors limit shipments of agricultural commodities to shelter consumers from surging prices.

The rising food protectionism and price rallies are welcome news for Thai producers that are enjoying strong harvests this year after back-to-back droughts.

Emerging Markets:

Brazil consumer prices rose more than expected in mid-May

Brazil consumer prices jumped more than forecast on food and transportation costs, as policy makers weigh how much longer they will extend interest rate hikes.

Hunger Pangs | Food insecurity surged in Brazil during the pandemic

Brazil endured its highest levels of hunger on record during the coronavirus pandemic, according to a new report, highlighting the acute struggles facing the poor before elections in Latin America’s largest economy.


Real spending rose in April by the most in three months

US inflation-adjusted consumer spending rose in April by the most in three months, indicating households were holding up in the face of persistent price pressures by dipping into savings.

Household Energy Inflation | Year-over-year change in April by metropolitan area

US residential electricity rates have been surging for months and are poised to climb even higher this summer on a combination of tight supplies of natural gas and coal, an unrelenting drought in the Western US, and a nationwide forecast for extreme heat.

Quitters Reconsider | The share of US job switchers who held their previous position less than a year rose the fastest in sectors most hit by the pandemic

More Americans are quitting their jobs than ever, and fewer are sticking around in their new positions. Among workers who took a new job in 2021, the share who had been in their previous position for less than 12 months rose by 6.5% compared with a year earlier, data compiled by LinkedIn show.


Recession Avoided | German growth was driven by capital investment at start of 2022

Investments in Germany supported Europe’s largest economy in the first quarter, allowing it to cope with the headwinds caused by the pandemic and the war in Ukraine.

©2022 Bloomberg L.P.

first published: May 28, 2022 10:05 pm