Skip to: Content
Skip to: Site Navigation
Skip to: Search

Latin America Blog

Effects of US drought trickle down through the Americas

As prices of corn and other commodities rise, importing countries like the Caribbean and Central America will likely suffer. But what about major exporters like Brazil and Argentina?

By James BosworthGuest blogger / August 9, 2012

A dry corn field receives some rain from a passing thunder storm near Blair, Neb., Wednesday, Aug. 8.

Nati Harnik/AP


• A version of this post ran on the author's blog, The views expressed are the author's own.

Skip to next paragraph

Recent posts

With climate change in the United States leading to a major drought this year, the prices of corn and other agricultural commodities are near record highs. The general analysis is that this is bad for food importing countries in the Caribbean and Central America, but good for major commodity exporters like Brazil and Argentina. It should be great times for those exporting countries.
That optimistic scenario for the Southern Cone is probably correct, but here's the glass half empty approach. Several weeks ago, truckers were on strike in Brazil, slowing down the transport of corn and soy. This week, port inspectors in Brazil are on strike, which could lead to delays in exports. In Argentina, the government is again talking about raising export tariffs, a move that led to significant protests in 2008 during a previous commodity boom and would likely do so again. And, of course, Paraguay is in recession territory and just had its president tossed out, partially sparked by a land conflict, even as commodity prices were moving higher.

Commodity exports are good for GDP when prices go up, but that doesn't mean everyone benefits. In fact, it could be that the increased income leads to increased demands from all sectors (government, businesses, unions, citizens) for a piece of the pie. Stability depends on the ability for governments and societies to peacefully resolve those tensions

James Bosworth is a freelance writer and consultant based in Managua, Nicaragua, who runs Bloggings by Boz.

The Christian Science Monitor has assembled a diverse group of Latin America bloggers. Our guest bloggers are not employed or directed by the Monitor and the views expressed are the bloggers' own, as is responsibility for the content of their blogs. To contact us about a blogger, click here.

Read Comments

View reader comments | Comment on this story

  • Weekly review of global news and ideas
  • Balanced, insightful and trustworthy
  • Subscribe in print or digital

Special Offer


Doing Good


What happens when ordinary people decide to pay it forward? Extraordinary change...

Danny Bent poses at the starting line of the Boston Marathon in Hopkinton, Mass.

After the Boston Marathon bombings, Danny Bent took on a cross-country challenge

The athlete-adventurer co-founded a relay run called One Run for Boston that started in Los Angeles and ended at the marathon finish line to raise funds for victims.

Become a fan! Follow us! Google+ YouTube See our feeds!