Preliminary Overview of the Economies of Latin America and the Caribbean 2013

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This publication highlights a regional slowdown in GDP growth. It argues that the currency depreciation seen in several countries in the region could, if sustained, increase incentives for investment in tradable sectors other than the region’s traditional exports (commodities), while redirecting expenditure to ease pressure on the current account. Growth-supporting industrial, trade, environmental, social and labour policies that take into account the needs of small and medium-sized enterprises, could help lessen the region’s structural heterogeneity. Growth combined with greater equality would thus gain economic and social sustainability, with greater reliance from investment and exports than before. It is argued that this combination would be aided by social covenants for investment.

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The international context

In 2013, the global economy showed lacklustre growth, with signs of some recovery in the second half of the year, and a high degree of financial volatility. Global economic growth slipped from 2.4% to 2.1%, matched by slower growth in both developed and developing countries (see figure I.1). According to information from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) from July 2013, the eurozone economy again contracted in 2013, by 0.6% in annualized terms. This was caused by the continuation of the financial crisis and efforts to contain it, largely in the form of fiscal austerity programmes that sapped domestic demand and weakened imports from the rest of the world.

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