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| 7/21/2009 12:00:00 AM

Economies Contract in Latin America

Jul 21--International recession expected to cause further GDP contraction and increased unemployment.

According to the UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean's (ECLAC's) latest Economic Survey of Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC), released on July 15, the impact of the international recession on economic performance was already apparent last year. In the last quarter of 2008, regional GDP contracted by 1.9% in seasonally adjusted terms over the previous quarter and this drop--the first in almost six years--deepened in the first three months of 2009, with a quarter-on-quarter contraction of 2.4%.

ECLAC points out that the four engines of the region's expansion over the six years--exports of goods, tourism, remittances and foreign direct investment--have gradually succumbed to the international recession. Over the whole year, ECLAC anticipates that, out of the region's six largest economies--Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru--three will experience a contraction, led by Mexico (-7%). The exceptions are Peru, for which ECLAC forecasts an expansion of 2% this year (down from 9.8% in 2008), Argentina (1.5%) and Colombia (0.6%).
 
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