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UN agency announces lowest growth rate for Latin American and Caribbean economies in 70 years

cartel cuba eeuuThe region has experienced a generalized, synchronized economic slowdown in most countries and sectors, completing six consecutive years of limited growth, ECLAC reported on Thursday, in its latest annual report released by its headquarters in Santiago de Chile.

In the preliminary report on the performance of Latin America and Caribbean economies in 2019, the United Nations agency indicates that in 2019 the region will grow only 0.1% on average, while growth projections for 2020 will remain low, around 1.3%. As a result, 2014-2020 would be the period of lowest growth for the economies of Latin America and the Caribbean in the last seven decades.

In terms of growth projections, according to the report, 23 out of 33 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean (18 out of 20 in Latin America) will show a slowdown in their growth during 2019, while 14 nations will show an expansion of 1% or less by the end of the year.

Thus, the macroeconomic profile for recent years shows a trend toward decreasing economic activity, with a decline in per capita Gross Domestic Product (GDP), less investment, a drop in per capita consumption, lower exports and a sustained deterioration in the quality of employment.

Likewise, the report indicates that the region’s GDP per capita will have contracted by 4.0% between 2014 and 2019. Meanwhile, unemployment will increase from 8.0% in 2018 to 8.2% in 2019, which implies an increase of one million people without work, reaching a new high of 25.2 million.

For 2020, ECLAC projections indicate that Caribbean nations will continue to lead regional growth (with a sub-regional average of 5.6%).

According to the report, despite difficulties and constraints currently facing policy decision-making, most countries in the region are experiencing historically low inflation and maintain relatively high international reserves, while economies generally have access to international financial markets, and international interest rates are low. These conditions favor the implementation of macroeconomic policies directed toward reversing current low-growth rates, according to ECLAC.



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