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Preliminary Overview of the Economies of Latin America and the Caribbean 2012

image of Preliminary Overview of the Economies of Latin America and the Caribbean 2012
This publication shows that the global economic crisis has had a negative, albeit not dramatic, impact in the Latin America and the Caribbean region. Global financial instability led to smaller inflows of short-term capital and a more volatile exchange rate in Brazil and Mexico, but eased pressures towards currency appreciation. Monetary policy was slightly expansionary. The fiscal position deteriorated in most countries, but fiscal policies have remained predominantly prudent. The region’s economy proved resilient, despite the global economic downturn. Employment and wages rose, with unemployment falling more among women than among men, but there are signs that growth in “quality” employment has slowed. The outlook for 2013 is again for lacklustre and uncertain external conditions.

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Performance of the domestic economy: Activity, employment and wages

With the global economy faltering, the slowdown observed in the region’s economies throughout 2011 continued in 2012, although the results varied from one country to the next. GDP in Latin America and the Caribbean rose by 3.1%, resulting in a 2.0% increase in regional per capita GDP. The region’s performance is due mainly to lower growth in two of its major economies: Argentina (2.2% in 2012, down from 8.9% in 2011) and Brazil (1.2% compared with 2.7% in 2011) (see figure III.1).1 Without these two countries, the rise in regional GDP would have been 4.3%, a figure similar to the previous year’s excluding those two countries (4.5%).

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