Blog posts tagged by tag: Latin America
By Economist Ricardo Aceves
After six years of stagnation, foreign direct investment (FDI) in Latin America returned briskly in 2017, increasing sharply from the previous year. According to the latest report published by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the flow of FDI in the region grew 8% to USD 150 billion. This was in stark contrast to the global trend; global FDI inflows fell 23% year-on-year, mainly driven by a drop of around a third in developed economies and more than 20% in Africa, while in developing Asia, flows basically stagnated.
With Mexico's general elections ending as expected with an AMLO victory on 1 July, Economist Christopher Thomas takes a look at Enrique Peña Nieto's legacy, the biggest challenges that face the new incoming president, and of course, NAFTA, among other issues.
Latin America and the Caribbean is one of the two regions of the world with the least intraregional trade along with Africa. This is due to the fact that historically countless processes have been developed with different objectives and results, which have not only failed to integrate the region economically but have also led to fragmentation. The risk that the escalation of the Trump administration's protectionist agenda implies for Latin America opens a new window via which the two great regional blocs, MERCOSUR and the Pacific Alliance, could grow closer.
The economic expansion that took place in the first decade of the 21st Century brought about considerable improvements in Latin American and Caribbean labor markets, including a reduction in unemployment and a significant increase in wages. The formality of employment, however, did not change significantly, reaching only 27% for women and 40% for men. Once the expansion cycle ended, the positive trend in employment stagnated, revealing the fragility of a system that had expanded mainly thanks to an increase in employment, without a considerable increase in productivity.
As we know, Latin America is the most unequal region in the world. This lack of equality that characterizes the region is undoubtedly a major barrier to its economic development. Why is it so difficult for Latin America to reduce inequality in a sustained way?
A sometimes overlooked region, the Central America and Caribbean economy is very important to the global economy. There is quite a bit going on in the region at the moment, including public unrest, corruption scandals and yet robust economic growth in many of the region’s economies. To get a better idea of what is happening in the Central America economy currently and how it looks for the foreseeable future, we asked some of our economists responsible for the region to give us an update. Here are their responses:
Historically, Latin America has relied heavily on raw materials, and price swings have set the pace of the region's economic cycles. However, from a fiscal point of view, its dependence on non-renewable natural resources, such as hydrocarbons and minerals, decreased notably between 2010 and 2016. This is the conclusion of the report Revenue Statistics in Latin America and the Caribbean 2018, produced by a group of international organizations.
eCommerce in Latin America is booming, and with the number of people using the internet and social media growing by the day, there is plenty of opportunity for companies selling online, also known as “eRetailers”. In fact, online sales are expected to grow 19% in the next five years – well above the global average of 11% – and are foreseen doubling in value to $118 billion in 2021. Two of the three fastest-growing eCommerce markets in the world are in Latin America: Colombia and Argentina.
Despite these impressive statistics, eRetailers face many challenges in Latin America, including online payment security, low banking services usage among citizens, and serious logistics issues, according to Patricia Galina of IEBS. The World Bank highlights some key areas where Latin America lags behind other regions as “lack of adequate roads and railways and port and airport efficiency”. It also cites corruption and cumbersome customs as major concerns. Lower purchasing power and tricky government regulations present yet another major roadblock. In addition, there are challenges related to trade and financial structures, such as the aforementioned banking penetration rates, along with low levels of confidence in electronic payment systems and lack of free flow of data. Analysts believe that companies must find a way to overcome these barriers to realize their full potential in this very promising market.
These are turbulent times for international trade. The massive economic crisis that unfolded in 2008 has not only intensified political tensions within several countries but has also had an impact on an international scale, which is being reflected in, among other things, a shifting global trade map. The resurgence of nationalism has prompted various countries to dust off the flags of trade protectionism, led mainly by the government of Donald Trump in the United States and Teresa May in the United Kingdom.
Just as trade protectionism is being highly debated, globalization is not dying down and new business opportunities are arising, which is quite intersting for countries in Latin America. In early March, 11 countries signed the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TTP 11) in Santiago, Chile. This agreement, in which Canada, Mexico, Chile, Peru, Japan, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, Australia and New Zealand are participating, will eliminate between 65% to 100% of tariffs among member countries over time.
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.
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