Food, fuel surge raises risk of social unrest for emerging markets: report

A man eats prepared food to eat during Iftar, a meal to break the fast at sunset. Picture taken on April 20, 2022. REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany

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LONDON, May 11 (Reuters) – Rising fuel and food prices appear to be fueling an “inevitable” rise in civil unrest, with middle-income developing countries such as Brazil and Egypt particularly at risk, according to a report from a risk consultant.

Three-quarters of nations expected to be at high or extreme risk of civil unrest by the fourth quarter of 2022 were middle-income countries, as defined by the World Bank, Verisk Maplecroft said in an update to its risk monitor. politician.

“Unlike low-income countries, they were wealthy enough to offer social protection during the pandemic, but now struggle to maintain high social spending that is vital to the standard of living of large sections of their population,” the report found. report.

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Argentina, Tunisia, Pakistan and the Philippines were also among countries to watch in the next six months, the authors said, noting their high reliance on food and energy imports.

Russia’s war in Ukraine has accelerated the rise in food prices, which hit an all-time high in February and again in March. Energy prices also rose sharply. read more

“With no resolution to the conflict in sight, the global cost-of-living crisis will continue into 2023,” the report said.

Lebanon, Senegal, Kenya and Bangladesh face similar pressures.

ten countries to watch

The report pointed to Sri Lanka and Kazakhstan as examples of middle-income countries that have already experienced unrest this year. In the former, rising food and fuel prices contributed to heightened tensions, while an attempt to cut fuel subsidies sparked protests in Kazakhstan. read more

Civil unrest could hamper a potential economic recovery, but also deter investors focused on environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors, it said.

“Some countries are at risk of falling into a vicious circle, in which worsening governance and social indicators make them pariahs of ESG investing, preventing the inflows needed to improve economic performance and address the needs of the society”.

The report found that more than 50% of the nearly 200 countries covered by the index have seen an increase in civil unrest since the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

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Information from Jorgelina do Rosario; Edited by Karin Strohecker and Richard Pullin

Our standards: the Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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