Blog posts tagged by tag: Latin America
Between 2002 and 2015, the proportion of Latin Americans over 65 with access to some type of pension increased from 53.6% to 70.8%. This increase was mainly due to the expansion of non-contributory pension systems. That said, despite the considerable progress of recent years, inequality in access to benefits within pension systems is huge, and almost a third of the Latin American population does not have access to any type of pension.
by Francisco Rodríguez, Chief Economist at Torino Capital LLC
Most parties in Venezuela’s main opposition coalition, the Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD), have decided to sit out the country’s May elections, according to public statements issued by some of the parties as well as the announcement made by MUD spokesperson Angel Oropeza on February 21, in which he said that they could not participate in a “fraudulent, illegitimate” presidential election unless electoral conditions change. 
Although Oropeza said that all parties that are part of the MUD signed the statement, more moderate sectors of the opposition appear likely to participate. At the present moment, the most probable scenario appears to be one in which President Nicolás Maduro will face an independent candidate supported by some minority parties, with the MUD calling on its supporters to abstain in the elections.
In this scenario, President Maduro will be facing an opposition field that will be split between abstentionists and those favoring participation. This is certainly one of the most favorable settings that the government could have hoped for and raises the possibility that Maduro could be re-elected for a second six-year term without overtly manipulating the vote count. On the other hand, we argue that given the results of recent opinion polls, there is also a significant probability that Maduro could lose the election on these terms.
In this discussion, we begin by exploring the rationale for the decisions taken by key actors and then go on to map the potential scenarios that could arise from the electoral results.
Newly-elected Chilean President Sebastian Piñera faces a myriad of challenges - economic and otherwise
Chile’s economy is gradually picking up after a prolonged period of subdued growth brought on by lower copper prices and stagnant investment. Business and consumer confidence have risen sharply in recent months, there are incipient signs of a turnaround in the construction sector and prices for copper are now back near multi-year highs. Against this macroeconomic backdrop, center-right candidate Sebastian Piñera is set to be sworn in as Chile’s new president on 11 March, having previously governed the country from 2010 to 2014. He has pledged to boost the country’s competitiveness, stoke growth and alter some of Michelle Bachelet’s key reforms—notably the reform of the tax system.
The challenges facing the incoming government are, however, considerable. Fiscal room for maneuver will be constrained by the not-insignificant structural budget deficit. Furthermore, the parliament is fractured, and lingering weaknesses in education, health and infrastructure must be tackled if Chile is to truly become a developed country—an often-stated aim of Piñera.
To discuss the country’s economic situation in more detail, we spoke to Alejandro Fernández Beros, Chief Economist at Gemines.
While it may be widely known that Latin America is the most unequal region in the world, what’s not so well known is that an enormous economic disparity exists between the different regions within Latin America. For example, it would take the Chocó region, the poorest area in Colombia, 200 years to reach Bogotá’s per capita income levels, according to an OECD study on Colombia published in 2015. In Latin America, individuals’ incomes in the various intermediate administrative divisions—department, province, state or region—are nine times higher in the richest than they are in the poorest.
In recent decades, China’s impact on global growth has showed no signs of waning; this was especially evident in the years following the global financial crisis. In fact, the country's influence on Latin America is growing stronger by the year, and this is due primarily to three main factors.
After two years of economic contraction, Latin America and the Caribbean have begun to recover, thanks primarily to private consumption. The region’s economy contracted in 2016, but grew 0.9% in 2017, a positive result although it was nowhere near the global growth rate of over 3%. The World Bank’s foresees regional growth doubling this year and hitting 2.6% in 2019, which would be more inline with the global growth rate. The FocusEconomics Consensus Forecast poll of hundreds of analysts worldwide foresees growth in Latin America coming in at 2.4% in 2018 and projects an improvement to 2.7% in 2019.
After having fallen for over ten years, the rates of poverty and extreme poverty increased again in a large part of Latin America in 2015 and 2016. But in 2017, thanks to the greater economic dynamism, the indices remained stable, according to the 2017 Social Panorama Report on Latin America, published by the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC).
Trade with Latin America is becoming easier, according to the index that measures trade facilitation in 21 Latin American countries, which represented 95% of regional merchandise trade in 2016. Latin America's result again increased two points with respect to the average two years prior, and received a score of 69%. The index measures the "the simplification, standardization and harmonization of procedures and associated information flows required to move goods from seller to buyer and to make payment in order to reduce the time and cost of trade." The latest progress is outlined in the report Trade Facilitation and Paperless Trade Implementation in Latin America and the Caribbean, from the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC).
The likelihood of a free trade agreement (FTA) between Mercosur and the European Union (EU) is growing. In the most recent round of negotiations held in Brasilia earlier this month, the leaders of both blocs made it clear that they are willing to move towards signing the treaty. Recent advances come within the context of growing protectionism in the United States. While prospects that the treaty will be signed are bright, we shouldn’t get ahead of ourselves. The leaders of both blocs have been negotiating for over 10 years and there are still important obstacles to be overcome.
Chileans will head to the polls on 19 November to choose a new president, amid a political panorama in flux. While the right is united behind Chile Vamos candidate Sebastian Piñera, the multi-billionaire former leader, the left has rarely looked more divided and will field three candidates in the first round. As a result of this fractured scenario, the policy options on offer to citizens are extremely broad; this is best highlighted by the leftist candidate Beatriz Sanchez, who is proposing a break with the largely consensual, market-oriented policies pursued since the restoration of democracy in 1990. However, the country looks set to opt once more for the known quantity of Piñera, who is expected to pursue a business-friendly agenda.
To examine the elections—and particularly Piñera’s program—in more detail, we speak to Maria del Pilar Cruz, Senior Economist at the Santiago Chamber of Commerce, who regularly participates in our Consensus Forecast panel.
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