The confusion, uncertainty, and disruption created by the Covid-19 pandemic is now starting to play out in the economies of countries around the world.
Singapore is no exception. Costs are rising.
For the Singapore economy, there's a number of factors at play. Closed borders and new employment regulations have led to staff shortages and rising wages for some. Disruption to global supply chains is also causing issues. Plus, rising energy costs are also having a major impact on day-to-day cost of living and the operational costs of businesses of all sizes.
High energy costs are also directly impacting food prices. Data from FOA - the Food and Agriculture Organisation - indicates that global food prices rose 28% in 2021, the highest rise since 2011. Singapore is a country that imports the majority of its food, so any increase in global food prices is inevitably passed on to the consumer.
When economic conditions deteriorate, it's always the most vulnerable in our community that are impacted hardest. LGBTQ people are often more likely to be navigating unstable housing, less-secure employment in gig-economy jobs, or jobs that were linked to entertainment or tourism - sectors hit hard by Covid-19 restrictions.
Food banks and community organisations in Singapore are reporting a spike in demand from people needing help.
Reporting from the Food and Agriculture Organisation reveals that - across Asia - 375 million people faced hunger in 2020. That's an increase of 54 million compared to 2019.
For low-income households that spend most of their budget on food and essentials, the months ahead will be particularly challenging.