Tuesday, April 26, 2011

ADB says 64 million could drop below poverty line

A new study from the Asian Development Bank looks at the effects of rising food prices in the region. The ADB says that another 64 million people could be pushed below the poverty line because of the record high food prices. So far in 2011, Asian prices for most basic food staples climbed by an average of 10 percent.

From the Hindustan Times, we find out more about what the ADB says in their report.

"For poor families in developing Asia, who already spend more than 60 per cent of their income on food, higher food prices further reduce their ability to pay for medical care and their children's education," ADB chief economist Changyong Rhee said.

The report said the fast and persistent rise in the cost of many Asian food staples since the middle of last year, coupled with crude oil reaching a 31-month high in March, are a serious setback for the region, which has rebounded rapidly and strongly from the global economic crisis.

As per the report, if the global food and oil price hikes seen in early 2011 persist for the remainder of the year, economic growth in the region could be reduced by up to 1.5 percentage points.

"Left unchecked, the food crisis will badly undermine recent gains in poverty reduction made in Asia," Rhee added.

The short-term outlook looks bleak, as food prices are likely to continue with their upward trend because of factors such as production shortfalls, rising demand for food from more populous and wealthier developing countries and shrinking available agricultural land, the report said.

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