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Worsening macroeconomic conditions drive increased living costs, limiting financial access to food.

  • Key Message Update
  • Malawi
  • July 2022
Worsening macroeconomic conditions drive increased living costs, limiting financial access to food.

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  • Key Messages
  • Key Messages
    • The cost of living for Malawian households continues to increase amid worsening macroeconomic conditions and rising food prices for food and essential commodities. Inflation in June reportedly increased to 23.5% in June 2022 from 19.1 in May 2022. Further, according to The Employers Consultative Association of Malawi report from July 2022, month-to-month living costs increased by 12% from May to June 2022, increasing by 28.3% compared to the same period last year. As a result, worsening macroeconomic conditions limit purchasing power and financial access to food.

    • Staple price data from July 2022 indicate that prices continue to increase and remain atypically high during the post-harvest period. Compared to May 2022, price increases ranged from 7.5 to 23.8% in central Malawi markets, 13.3 to 20.4% in northern Malawi markets, and 10.4 to 36.4% in southern Malawi markets. Compared to the same period last year, prices were 12.1 to 181.3% higher, with maize staples ranging from 250 to 330 Mwk per kilogram in June 2022 compared to a range of 100 to 163 Mwk per kilogram in June 2021. Further, five-year average prices were 31.1 to 157.0% higher. While Jenda and Lilongwefew markets reported reductions of -11 and -13% in the price of maize, Mzuzu reported no price changes, likely driven by relatively higher supplies and lower demand. Overall, atypically high and increasing costs were reported in most markets. As a result, very poor and poor households are reportedly increasing their use of coping strategies to access food.

    • In Malawi, acute food insecurity outcomes continue to worsen, particularly in southern Malawi. In most southern Malawi districts, poor households face Stressed (IPC Phase 2) acute food insecurity outcomes. Very poor and poor households currently in Stressed (IPC Phase 2) will likely transition to Crisis (IPC Phase 3) food security outcomes from October 2022 through the rest of the consumption period. The anticipated deterioration in food security conditions is driven by the coinciding impact of multiple tropical storms, below-average crop production, limited income opportunities, and worsening macroeconomic shocks on financial access to food, including reliance on coping strategies to meet food needs. Currently, in the Lower Shire livelihood zone, the abovementioned shocks have already exacerbated existing vulnerabilities and food insecurity, including limited coping capacity, resulting in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) acute food insecurity outcomes for the area. Households in central and northern districts remain in Minimal/None (IPC Phase 1) outcomes which will persist until at least September 2022, with some very poor households likely facing Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes due to unfavorable macro-economic conditions.

    This Key Message Update provides a high-level analysis of current acute food insecurity conditions and any changes to FEWS NET's latest projection of acute food insecurity outcomes in the specified geography. Learn more here.

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