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Economic Survey of Latin America and the Caribbean 1997-1998

image of Economic Survey of Latin America and the Caribbean 1997-1998

The Economic Survey of Latin America and the Caribbean, 1997-1998 is the fiftieth edition in this series. To mark this milestone, a special chapter has been included in this edition which traces the history of the publication and outlines the way in which the economic situation in the region has been viewed during each of the periods examined. Once again, the Survey has been published as a single volume consisting of three parts. Part 1 contains an overview of the economy in 1997 and the first half of 1998. Part 2 presents reports on the 20 countries of Latin American and on the situation in the countries of the English-speaking Caribbean. Part 3 reviews the 50 years of the Survey.

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Inflation

The inflation rate for Latin America and the Caribbean as a whole in 1997 continued the downward trend begun in 1994. The rate of price increase, 888% in 1993, had been reduced to 18.5% by 1996, and in 1997 dropped further to only 10.4%, the lowest level in nearly 50 years. In the first half of 1998 inflation crept up slightly, but this by no means reversed the gains the region has made, which are all the more impressive in that they have coincided with a phase of regional output growth (5.3% in 1997). The inflationary pressures generated by the strong expansion of domestic demand were neutralized by the existence of idle capacity and the substantial increase in external supply. Moreover, an increase in the labour force dampened the potential for wage hikes resulting from a greater demand for labour.

English

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