Latin America and Caribbean to see small rise in growth

8 Aug 17

Nearly all Latin American and Caribbean countries will record a small positive rate of economic growth this year, the United Nations Latin America Commission has said in its annual report.

This growth would be driven by higher commodity export prices and an improved international context, it said, giving an average of 1.1% growth after two years of contraction.

The only forecast exceptions to this were Venezuela – beset by political and economic crises – where growth was projected to fall by 7.2%, and Saint Lucia and Suriname, both expected to contract by 0.2%.

GDP in South America was expected to grow 0.6% this year, with the economies of Central America and Mexico expanding by 2.5% on average, due to an increase in remittance income and improved growth expectations for its main trading partner, the US.

English and Dutch-speaking Caribbean economies were expected to see growth of 1.2%.

The survey also noted the importance of strengthening increased public revenue through tax structure changes, with more direct taxes, better-resourced tax administrations and reduced evasion and avoidance.

Commission executive secretary Alicia Bárcena said: “To resume medium- and long-term growth, countercyclical policies are needed that focus not only on reducing the cycle's fluctuations but also on modifying those specific characteristics that negatively influence growth and the productive structure of countries in the region.”

Bárcena said this would require fiscal policies “that defend and promote public and private investment”, accompanied by financial policies aimed at credit stabilisation and monetary policies that support investment growth.

 

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