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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Executive summary

Global economic growth slipped from 2.4% in 2012 to 2.1% in 2013, as signs of recovery coincided with a high degree of financial volatility in the second half of the year. The eurozone economy again contracted in 2013, by 0.6% in annualized terms, as the ongoing financial crisis and the fiscal austerity programmes implemented to contain it have sapped domestic demand and weakened imports from the rest of the world. The United States posted modest growth in 2013, partly owing to the difficulty in reaching a fiscal policy agreement, which triggered automatic spending cuts.

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