Cost projections from the drought are hard to pin down, but the World Economic Forum (WEF) says that drought across the globe costs six to eight billion dollars a year from losses in agriculture and related businesses.
In California alone, the well-documented drought will cost the state $2.2 billion and put some 17,000 agricultural workers out of a job this year, according to a study from the University of California, Davis. California is easily the biggest agriculture-producing state in the United States.
A lack of rain is scorching the southern and northern regions of China, where some of the lowest rainfall on record has cut corn and rice yields.
In Australia, livestock and agriculture production have declined. Eighty percent of Queensland, the second most populous state in Australia, is in drought. The country is also suffering from wildfire outbreaks due to the lack of rain.
In Colombia, the government has established new water-rationing regulations in the coastal and Andean regions. The government there said the worst of the drought is "yet to come."
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The global nature of trade means that drought creates costs globally, even as trade helps to balance out shortages from one place to another.
"The global drought means higher food shortage and higher prices across the board," said Will Delavan, professor of economics at Lebanon Valley College.
It's the use of groundwater supplies after surface wells have dried up that has helped keep food prices low for now. And the fact that so many economies are tied together globally has also tempered food price increases and shortages, said Josh Green, CEO of Panjiva, a supply chain research firm.
"A bad crop of, say, olives in Spain can be balanced out somewhere else in the world," Green said. "But the local impact of drought can't be ignored."