On a country level, Dominica will lead regional growth in 2019, with a nine per cent expansion, the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) is predicting in its latest economic report. Next in line are the Dominican Republic (5.7 per cent), Panama (5.6 per cent), Antigua and Barbuda (4.7 per cent) and Guyana (4.6 per cent). ECLAC is predicting that Caribbean economies will grow 2.1 per cent in 2019 even as it acknowledged an international scenario marked by what it describes as “greater uncertainty”.
ECLAC also projected that the region will end 2018 with average growth of 1.2 per cent.
“The year 2019 looks to be a period in which global economic uncertainties, far from waning, will intensify and will arise from different fronts,” said ECLAC in unveiling its last economic report of the year, titled “The Preliminary Overview of the Economies of Latin America and the Caribbean 2018”.
ECLAC said this will have an impact on the growth of the economies of Latin America and the Caribbean, which, on average, are seen expanding 1.7 per cent.
It forecasts that Central America (excluding Mexico) will grow 3.3 per cent in 2019, South America 1.4 per cent, and the Caribbean 2.1 per cent.
The report warns that Venezuela will “suffer a minus 10 per cent contraction in its economy,” Nicaragua, a minus two per cent and Argentina minus 1.8 per cent.
The region’s biggest economies, Brazil and Mexico, are seen growing at two per cent, and 2.1 per cent respectively.
According to the report, the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean will “confront a complex global economic scenario in the coming years, in which less dynamic growth is expected, both for developed countries as well as emerging economies, along with increased volatility of international financial markets.”
“On top of this, there is a structural weakening of international trade, aggravated by trade tensions between the United States and China,” it added.
The overall 1.7 per cent economic growth projection for Latin America and the Caribbean in 2019 is slightly below what ECLAC released last October (1.8 per cent), while the estimate for the current year (2018) was also trimmed to 1.2 per cent (from the 1.3 percent forecast in October).
The report notes “the greatest risk to the region’s economic performance in the run-up to 2019 continues to be an abrupt deterioration in the financial conditions for emerging economies”.