The growth of 3.7% represents a slowdown compared to 6.7% in 2021, something expected, according to ECLAC, due to the “exhaustion of the rebound effect” post-pandemic, and which was also precipitated by the “impact and effects of restrictive monetary policies, greater limitations on fiscal spending, lower levels of consumption and investment, and the deterioration of the external context”.
Panama (+8.4%), Colombia (+8%), Uruguay (+5.4%), Argentina (+4.9%), Bolivia (+3.5%), Mexico (+2.9% ) and Brazil (+2.8%) were among those that registered the highest growth rates of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2022, being Paraguay (-0.3%) and Haiti (-2%), the only ones with negative numbers.
Last year’s data – ECLAC said in a statement – “show a slight recovery in some indicators after the Covid-19 pandemic”, including poverty, which although it extends to 32.3% of the population of the region (with 12.9% living in extreme poverty), presented a fall of 0.5 percentage points with respect to the previous year.
On the other hand, the labor participation rate rose to 61.4% compared to the floor of 57.8% registered in 2020 during the pandemic, while unemployment fell from 10.5% to 9.3%, improvements that However, “they were not enough to reach pre-pandemic values.”
In terms of inflation, price pressures “maintained” in 2022 with a regional Consumer Price Index (CPI) averaging 15.4%, up from 12.4% in 2021.
Food, ECLAC warned, was one of the main drivers of the price rise with a rise of 13.2% compared to 8.3% in 2021.
In the same way, energy products (45.9%) and fertilizers (36.8%) also marked strong increases. Another alert from the agency revolves around the effects of climate change, despite the fact that the region has a lower contribution in emissions compared to other areas of the world.
“The countries of this region are very vulnerable to its negative consequences: floods, storms, droughts and landslides, among others. Only in the year 2022, 74 dangerous events and disasters occurred, causing more than 7 million people directly affected and more of a thousand people dead“, warns the document.
The value of these damages in 2022 amounted to US$ 1,789 million, ECLAC estimated.
Similarly, it indicated that only 30% of the 33 countries in the region comply with the guidelines of the World Health Organization (WHO) for particulate matter regarding air pollution, with five of them doubling the maximum value allowed. .