Economic Survey of Latin America and the Caribbean 2000-2001

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This survey presents an overview of the regional economy and the economic performance in 2000 and the first half of 2001. It also offers individual country reports on the performance of the 20 countries of Latin America for the same period. In addition, the Economic Survey of Latin America and the Caribbean analyzes the economic situation in the countries of the English-speaking Caribbean. This year's edition includes a CD-ROM that contains the statistical appendix.




In 2000 the Argentine economy remained mired in the severe crisis that has afflicted it ever since mid-1998. GDP shrank again (this time by 0.5%), employment declined and the unemployment rate soared to 15%. Public financing difficulties became more acute after the government's deficit widened to 2.4% of GDP, and credit access conditions took a turn for the worse. Domestic demand slumped, particularly under the heading of investment, which dropped by 8.3%. Slack demand did, however, help to bring about a 0.7% deflation in consumer prices. Export volumes recovered from the slight fall of 1999 and average prices rebounded (particularly fuel prices). Together with a small decrease in the value of imports, this tipped the merchandise trade balance back into positive figures for the first time in four years. The deficit on the balance-of-payments current account narrowed to less than US$ 9.5 billion (3.2% of GDP). External borrowing requirements were covered by public-sector operations, while net capital inflows to the non-financial private sector were almost nil. Demand for public debt instruments fell sharply during the latter months of the year, prompting the government to negotiate a sizeable financing package with multilateral agencies, banks and foreign governments. This step boosted demand for securities briefly, but bond prices soon dropped again. In the first part of 2001 the attention of the public and policy-makers was focused on the persistent recession, sharp contraction of external credit and fiscal developments.


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