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Food-Price Shock Thwarts Central Banks Fighting Historic Slump

  • Food costs jumped 8% since May on supply shocks, weather
  • Emerging market central banks slowing or pausing rate cuts
People march to the parliamentary building during a protest in Islamabad, Pakistan, on Oct. 14.
Photographer: Muhammed Semih Ugurlu/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Rising food costs are hitting emerging markets with a double whammy: driving millions into hunger, and thwarting central banks as they try to end the worst slump in decades.

Global food prices have jumped nearly 8% since May as the pandemic disrupts supply lines and dry weather hits harvests. That faster inflation has forced policy makers from India to Mexico to ease up on monetary stimulus just when their economies need it most.