Economic Survey of Latin America and the Caribbean 1996-1997

image of Economic Survey of Latin America and the Caribbean 1996-1997

In 1996 and 1997, the economies of Latin America and the Caribbean appeared to have returned to the pattern of moderate growth. Part I of this publication gives insight into the economic trends, the international economy and the role of exchange rate policy in the region. Part II explores the economic developments by country. Included also is a statistical annex on diskette, which contains tables extending as far back as 1980.



Caribbean Countries

The rate of economic expansion in English-speaking Caribbean countries quickened in 1996 to 2.1%. The most striking variations were observed in the member countries of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), which were recovering from hurricane damage sustained in previous years. The performance of the other CARICOM member countries was mixed, but in the aggregate was much the same as the year before. Inflation seemed to be converging towards a moderate level in the Caribbean as a whole. Factors contributing to this decline included low external inflation and stable exchange rates in liberalized markets, efforts to foster greater competition, and restrained macroeconomic policies. Unemployment fell, but in most countries remained at high levels. Taken as a whole, the subregion's trade performance deteriorated, with its merchandise trade deficit increasing by almost 50%. Nevertheless, capital inflows were generally strong enough to allow an increase in international reserves.


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