The Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) has revised downward its economic growth projection for the region in 2015, forecasting a 1.0% increase in the regional Gross Domestic Product (GDP), the United Nations organization said today in a press release.
This revision reflects a global environment characterized by less economic dynamism than what was expected at the end of 2014. With the exception of the United States, industrialized countries have revised their growth estimates downward, and emerging economies continue to decelerate. The region is expected to keep economic growth at around the same level as in 2014 (1.1% according to the ECLAC’s annual report Preliminary Overview of the Economies of Latin America and the Caribbean 2014).
In the subregions, ECLAC forecasts growth of nearly zero for South America, while Central America and Mexico should reach 3.2% and the Caribbean 1.9%.
In addition to lower growth in the global economy, there is also an impact from greater international financial volatility due to very expansive monetary policies in Europe and Japan, combined with expectations that the United States will raise interest rates. Meanwhile, the end of the so-called “supercycle” in commodity prices is affecting several countries in the region negatively.
The particularities of the region’s economies, in terms of their economic structures and their modes of insertion in the global economy, account for the significant heterogeneity in the magnitude and way in which external shocks have affected them. The growth forecasts for economies specialized in commodities production, particularly oil and minerals, have seen the biggest declines (South America and Trinidad and Tobago), while those with greater links to the U.S. economy, and which benefit from lower crude prices, have the best forecasts: Central America and the English-speaking Caribbean.
The countries that will lead the region’s expansion during 2015 will be Panama, with a 6.0% increase in its GDP, Antigua and Barbuda (5.4%), and Bolivia, Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic (5.0%).