London: Food inflation has soared across much of the developing world since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and has trapped several richer countries in a cycle of rising prices, a report by the World Bank has found, the media reported.
The Washington-based development organisation said the war in eastern Europe would hit many countries with an increase in food bills worth more than 1 per cent of their annual national income (GDP), while others would fail to contain the impact and be plunged into a full-blown debt crisis, The Guardian reported.
Lebanon was the worst-hit, the World Bank said, after an explosion crippled the Mediterranean country’s ability to hold and distribute maize and wheat to its 6.8 million people.
Food inflation there hit 332 per cent in the year to June, ahead of Zimbabwe’s 255 per cent increase and Venezuela’s 155 per cent. Turkey was fourth with a food inflation rate of 94 per cent, The Guardian reported.
World Bank figures showed a dramatic reversal of cereal prices on global markets since June and a steep fall in the price of other agricultural products to lows close to those seen last year.
Rice has increased in cost over recent months, but from a low level during the pandemic that bucked the trend of historically high price levels for wheat, barley and maize, The Guardian reported.
Last week Bangladesh called on the IMF for financial support after an increase in the cost of imported food and energy threatened to undermine the south Asian countries finances.
Bangladesh is understood to need about $4.5 billion though only $1bn-$1.5bn is available under current IMF arrangements.
Sri Lanka has already asked for a bailout from the Washington-based fund after running out of cash to buy vital imports, while a deal with Pakistan for a $6bn IMF loan was revived in June.