Economic Survey of Latin America and the Caribbean 2003-2004

image of Economic Survey of Latin America and the Caribbean 2003-2004

This year's Survey, the fifty-sixth edition in this series, is divided into two parts. The first analyses the main features of the regional economy, while the second examines the situation in the individual countries of Latin America and the Caribbean. A summarized statistical appendix is supplemented by the more detailed information that is provided on the accompanying CD-ROM for ease of data processing.




Following four years of recession (1999-2002) when the country was badly hit by external shocks and domestic factors, in 2003 GDP grew by 2.5%. This performance far exceeded the expectations formed at the start of the year (-2%) and was mainly driven by a 4.1% expansion in exports. Domestic demand increased by just 1.6% owing to changes in inventories (mainly of agricultural products undergoing processing), while consumption remained depressed (- 1.1 %) and fixed investment dropped by 11.4% (the ratio of gross domestic fixed investment to GDP came to 13% at the end of 2003). The reactivation was made possible by the existence of idle installed capacity. Although it was up by 1.9%, per capita GDP (measured in local currency at constant prices) was 18% below its 1998 peak.


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