-- Latin America and the Caribbean are on track to enjoy
four straight years of economic growth, says the United
In a new report released August 3, the U.N.
Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean
(ECLAC) said the region will grow 4.3 percent in 2005 and
as much as 4 percent in 2006.
Should these forecasts prove accurate, ECLAC
said, this would make four straight years of economic growth
while achieving a total rise in per capita gross domestic
product (GDP) of about 10 percent for 2003-2006.
ECLAC said the region has been reaping the
benefits of a worldwide "external environment"
marked by global growth in GDP, an expansion of international
trade, higher commodity prices, and low interest rates.
At the same time, an upswing in demand is being driven by
exports of goods and services. The continuation of the economic
growth process is beginning to create opportunities for
investment, said ECLAC.
For 2005, Argentina is leading regional
growth with a 7.3 percent increase over 2004, followed by
Venezuela with 7 percent, Uruguay with 6.2 percent, Chile
with 6 percent, Peru with 5.5 percent, and Panama with 4.5
percent, said ECLAC in its report called Economic Survey
of Latin America and the Caribbean, 2004-2005.
"There is room for some optimism,"
since the region "is better prepared to face the challenges,"
ECLAC said. But the agency added that quicker growth is
needed to deal with serious problems in the Latin America/Caribbean
In 2004, exports from the region rose 22.8
percent, compared to 8.8 percent in 2003, while imports
rose 21.7 percent, completing a recovery that began in 2003
after a decline in 2002. Money transfers (remittances) sent
by migrants, mostly in the United States, back to their
home countries in Latin America and the Caribbean rose in
2004 by $6.4 billion, or 18.3 percent.
Mexico is the world's number-one country
for receiving money sent home by migrants in the United
States. Immigration experts report that these remittances
sent by Mexican workers to their homeland totaled about
$17 billion in 2004.
A rise in both employment and wages has
boosted private consumption, ECLAC said, but it warned that
the region must stimulate saving and investment because
risks persist. These risks include "the possibility
of a traumatic correction to some existing imbalances in
the international economy and the danger of a protectionist
backlash," said ECLAC.
is available at the ECLAC Web site.
Washington File Staff Writer