Global business activity in many regions continues to be constrained by the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, despite the success of the roll-out of vaccines in the advanced economies in cutting deaths, a report by Dun and Bradstreet said.
However, the difficulties of accessing sufficient doses and rolling them out in most countries will ensure that world remains vulnerable to new cases and variants, it added.
The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Food Price Index averaged 127.1 points in May; its highest level since September 2011 and only 7.6 points below its highest-ever level.
Inflation is being driven by pent-up demand following the easing of lockdowns, increased input prices, and supply constraints as lockdowns constrain output and shipping charges are boosted by container shortages and port delays, in turn driving the inventory cycle.
"The recent surge in inflation outside Europe is driven by short-term demand and supply factors related to the pandemic. The pandemic is still constraining business activity in many regions despite the vaccines' success in cutting death rates. We expect inflation to return towards policy targets by 2022, but input costs will weigh on profits, or raise final prices." said Arun Singh, Global Chief Economist, Dun & Bradstreet.
Mapping the biweekly change in Covid-19 cases on ourworldindata.org shows how the pandemic has ricocheted around the world in 2021. In Q1, the intense case numbers growth was in Europe and South America, by April it was in India and the rest of South Asia, May offered a pause with falling case numbers globally except in places such as Vietnam and South Africa; but June saw new leaps in case numbers in Southern Africa, Russia and even in the highly-vaccinated Israel and the UK.
Just as policy-makers and corporate plans have shifted to scoping the end of the pandemic, the delta variant is arriving in virgin populations like the Congo, with cases isolated in southern China. Continuing travel and commerce and the high transmissibility of the latest emerging variant means even highly-vaccine rich economies have not escaped, the report added.