Latin American and Caribbean growth expected to stall

1 Aug 19

Growth in Latin America and the Caribbean is likely to stall, according to the UN, especially in South America.

In its new economic survey of the region, the UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean predicted just 0.5% growth in 2019.

At a press conference in Chile, ECLAC executive secretary Alicia Bárcena blamed “less momentum from world economic activity and global trade, greater volatility and financial fragility, questioning of the multilateral system and an increase in geopolitical tensions”.

In 2018, the region registered 0.9% growth, although ECLAC predicted 1.5% in its economic survey 12 months ago.

This year’s slowdown will affect 21 of the 33 countries in the region.

South American countries are expected to grow just 0.2% on average, Central America 2.9% and the Caribbean 2.1%.

The largest growth is expected in Dominica (9.9%), Antigua and Barbuda (5.9%) and the Dominican Republic (5.5%).

Just three countries are predicted to experience activity contracting: Argentina (-1.8%), Nicaragua (-5%) and Venezuela (-23%).

The survey cited the need to reduce tax evasion; adopt taxes related to the digital economy, the environment and public health; and realign tax expenditures toward productive investment.

Economic growth should be promoted without compromising foreign exchange and pricing stability.

And on investment and productivity, the report called it “imperative” to increase public and private investment in ‘knowledge-intensive’ sectors, and adopt stimulus policies to promote innovation, learning and quality jobs.

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