China's growing influence on the Latin American economy
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.
In the year 2000, the Asian giant represented 3.6% of global GDP; in 2016 this number reached 15% and China claimed the title of the largest industrial and agricultural producer in the world. This boom has not only caused a radical transformation within the most populous country in the world, but since the turn of the 21st Century it has also greatly impacted economies as far away as Latin America.
1. Bilateral Trade
Bilateral trade has been the main growth driver in Latin America, thanks to hefty demand from China that caused raw materials prices to skyrocket. Starting in 2014, however, the economies of developing countries cooled and the value of trade between Latin America and China dampened for three consecutive years. The situation turned around in 2017 when Latin American exports returned to growth with a 25% increase, nearly reaching the historical high of 2013, according to the report Exploring new areas for cooperation between Latin America and the Caribbean and China from the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC).
Although trade with China has strong growth driven by an increase in fuel prices and certain basic products, it continues to be considerably deficient. CEPAL projects that 10% of the exports of Latin American goods in 2017 were destined for China, while 18% of imports into Latin America originated in the Asian country. If this trend continues, China will surpass the European Union as the second biggest buyer of Latin American products after the United States, which has already lost its position as main exporter to Latin America.
Looking more closely at the region, the Caribbean, Central America and Mexico in particular have large trade deficits with China, while South America’s trade balance is nearly balanced. The only countries with trade surpluses are Brazil, Chile, Peru and Venezuela. This is because these countries export their raw materials, which represent 26% of all agricultural imports to China. Beyond the strong export data, the composition exports is not so encouraging since trade with China continues to be basically comprised of raw materials for manufactured products.
2. Foreign Direct Investment
Another way the Chinese economy is influencing the region is via external investment. While in 2016 Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in Latin America fell sharply, in the same year China became the second largest investor in the region after the U.S., and in 2017 China represented around 15% of total FDI. That said, new Chinese acquisitions are primarily focused in just a few sectors, such as energy and mining, which indicates that China’s strategy in the region is centered on natural resources and the energy supply market, at least for the time being. Argentina, Brazil and Peru are the biggest beneficiaries, having received more than 80% of overall Chinese investment since 2005.
3. Economic Financing
The third of the three main ways in which China is influencing the region’s economy is through economic financing. According to the ECLAC report, the main recipients of financing were countries with significant hydrocarbon deposits: Venezuela, Brazil, Ecuador and Argentina (in that order). Most of these loans were awarded for developing infrastructure, hydrocarbon extraction and energy generation and distribution.
ECLAC has noted that, during the first meeting of the China-Latin American and Caribbean Countries Cooperation Plan (2015-2019) that took place in January 2015, both parties expressed their intention of doubling commercial trade by the year 2025. The ECLAC report highlights that while expanding trade is an important aspect for the region, it will not solve "the significant deficiencies that characterize commercial relations between the two parties".
*Guest blog post from Latinoamerica21
Jeronimo Giorgi, a Uruguayan journalist dedicated to international issues, is pursuing a master's degree in Latin American Studies. He has collaborated with various media outlets in Latin America and Europe, and has received distinctions such as the Premio Rey de España for Journalism.
Latinoamerica21 is a blog about current economic, political and social topics in Latin America that is currently published within the newspaper El Observador de Uruguay and Pagina Siete in Bolivia, and will soon be published in other media outlets within the region. The original version of this blog post is available in Spanish: La creciente influencia de China en la economía de América Latina.
*Guest blog posts do not reflect the views of FocusEconomics.
5-year economic forecasts on 30+ economic indicators for 127 countries & 33 commodities.
Date: January 26, 2018
TagsInvestmentInflationEurozoneBanking SectorUnited StatesUSAIndiaInfographicEmerging MarketsBase Metals CommoditiesLatin AmericaG7UKConsensus ForecastOilMexicoExchange RateCompany NewsVietnamGreeceHealthcareEastern EuropeRussiaCanadaAfricaSub-Saharan AfricaNordic EconomiesGermanyHousing MarketCommoditiesTunisiaTurkeyTradeBitcoinColombiaSpainSouth AfricaTPPBrazilForexBrexitCryptocurrencyprecious metalsAgricultural CommoditiesAsiaoil pricesMajor EconomiesArgentinaOPECMENAAustraliaJapanEconomic Growth (GDP)Unemployment rateGoldEuropean UnionEuro AreaPortugalFranceItalyIMFVenezuelaUnited KingdomEnergy CommoditiesUkrainePrecious Metals CommoditiesChinaIran
Base metal prices are seen rising 5.9% year-on-year in Q4 2019 (previous month: +6.2% yoy). Read more: https://t.co/KlgaC9IbxP
1 hour ago
2 hours ago
3 hours ago
Inflation in Venezuela is seen surging to over 70,000,000% by the end of the year. Read more: https://t.co/2qYlAPNaGu
3 hours ago
Implementation of sorely-needed economic reforms remains pivotal to Brazil's outlook. Read more: https://t.co/enT2Ebv0Ew
5 hours ago
- Brexit Scenarios: Consensus of 14 Economic Analysts
- Sweden just formed a new government and approved its 2019 budget: what does it mean for the economy?
- Which countries have the highest public debt levels?
- Predictions for the global economy in 2019 from 13 experts
- Gurdgiev: Predictions for the global economy in 2019
- Daniel Lacalle's ideas for 2019: Change of cycle.
- Vietnam Poised to Profit from Free Trade Agreement Opportunities
- Canada in 2019: Interview with a Top Economic Forecaster
- Pound Sterling 2019 Exchange Rate: Projections from Leading Analysts
- Expectations for Latin America’s Economy in 2019
- Ethiopia and Rwanda: From Destruction to Development
- Key commodities trends to look out for in 2019
- What drove Gulf neighbors to bail out Bahrain?
- The Four Financial Bubbles and Their Impact on the U.S. Economy
- The Poorest Countries in the World
- Italy: The sick man of Europe
- What does Bolsonaro's presidential win mean for Brazil's economic outlook?
- The World's Top 10 Largest Economies
- In Latin America, taxpayers are tapped to shoulder the burden of a bank bailout
- How and when will the next financial crisis happen? - 26 experts weigh in
- China and Africa: A partnership under the spotlight
- The conditions are ripe for a Global Financial Crisis 2.0
- Uncertainty, instability and fear haunt a generation of Argentinians
- 5 things: What to expect for Mexico's economy in 2019
- 5 things: Brazil's economic downturn and what to expect going forward
- Emerging Market Currency Crisis: Everything you need to know
- Which ASEAN countries are most exposed in the event of a U.S.-China trade war?
- 75 Top Economics Influencers to Follow
- Emerging Markets Economic Outlook 2018 and 2019
- The Faces Behind Latin America’s Key Institutions
- 2019 Economic Outlook for the Top Oil Producing Countries
- Is your cup of coffee about to get more expensive going in to 2019?
- The Economic Implications of an Aging Global Population
- Can the Wisdom of the Crowds predict the results of the 2018 World Cup?
- Railway Mania: The Largest Speculative Bubble You’ve Never Heard Of
- From Riches to Rags: Have Cryptocurrencies Crashed for Good?
- Investment looks to Latin America, but forecasts are not encouraging
- Turkey: Erdogan has cemented his grip on power - now what about the economy?
- How can Latin America’s business environment benefit from technological change?
- Mexico: A look at the past, present and future as elections yield AMLO victory
- Latin America moves toward increased integration as U.S. protectionism grows
- Italy’s New Populist Government and the Eurozone: Prelude to a Crisis?
- How can Latin America increase productivity without affecting the quality of employment?
- How will Saudi Arabia's economy benefit from lifting the women's driving ban?
- Which countries are the most prepared for the upcoming digital revolution?
- India Under Pressure from the U.S. on Trade Policy
- The Story of Steel
- Latin America is the World Leader in eCommerce Growth Despite Serious Challenges
- What the TPP means for trade in Latin America
- Elections in Russia: Analysis and Implications
- Nearly a Third of Latin Americans Have No Right to a Pension
- A Look at Healthcare Models Around the World
- Newly-elected Chilean President Sebastian Piñera faces a myriad of challenges - economic and otherwise
- The Economic Effects of Trade Protectionism
- Regional Disparity: The Dark Side of Inequality in Latin America
- Coal: The story of the world's most abundant fossil fuel
- Gold: The Most Precious of Metals (Part 3)
- Venezuela's Electoral Conundrum
- Trump's 1st Year: 95 Analysts Surveyed on U.S. Economy
- The Latest on China and What's in Store for 2018
- An in-depth look at the Eurozone’s booming economy and the challenges that lurk in the shadows
- Increasing poverty in Latin America takes a breather thanks to improving economic dynamics
- What will be the most miserable economies in 2018?
- Is Spain doing enough to address its high youth unemployment rate?
- Has Latin America gone far enough in reducing barriers to international trade?
- Commodities Outlook: Oil, Natural Gas, Coal, Lead & Tin
- 21 experts tell us what the future looks like for cryptocurrencies and blockchain
- Turkish lira plummets to all-time low on Erdogan’s monetary feud and tense U.S.-Turkey relations
- Copper: The first metal mastered by man
- The Mercosur-EU Free Trade Agreement: Obstacles & Opportunities
- Nigerian Economy Still Treading Water Thanks to Oil Sector
- Elections in Chile: What the results could mean for the economy
- QE’s Untold Story: A Chart That Fed Correspondents Need To Investigate
- Holland’s fragile one-seat majority government targets economic growth at the expense of fiscal sustainability
- South Africa: Economy at a tipping point?
- Latin American Commodities: What’s behind the increase in demand and prices?
- Is the UK really "shackled to a corpse"?
- Spain-Catalonia: 7 economic experts weigh in on how the situation will affect the outlook
- How well is Spain's labor market doing since the crisis?
- Which countries will have the highest and lowest inflation in 2017?
- How vulnerable is Latin America to economic crises today?
- Iron ore facts and common questions answered
- The bulging economic costs of obesity
- How much investment is needed to salvage Latin America’s crumbling infrastructure?
- A Look at the Potential Impact of Brexit on the Dutch Economy
- Emerging Markets Are Kicking Into Higher Gear In 2017
- Why is foreign direct investment in Latin America falling again?
- Are Central Banks Nationalising the Economy?
- Bounty or burden? The impact of refugees on European economies is far from clear
- What’s the future of U.S.-Latin America trade relations?
- Taxes or cutbacks? Latin America's challenge of sustaining spending without causing debt to skyrocket
- Are uranium prices making a comeback?
- Taxing the Economy: Achieving a Delicate Balance
- How will Latin America’s upcoming lengthy election cycle affect the reform agenda and credit ratings?
- How will emerging market economies perform in 2017?
- Chilean Economy in Focus: Interview with Senior Economist of the Chamber of Commerce of Santiago
- CEOs Rank Top Economies for Growth Opportunities
- The Mobile Ecosystem & Latin America's Economy
- Prospects and Challenges for the Global Economy: Interview with Tim Cooper from BMI Research
- How will the Fed reduce its balance sheet & and how will the ECB end QE? - 19 economic experts weigh in
- Thoughts on "unwinding" QE from Frances Coppola
- The Fed and ECB at a crossroads: Unwinding QE
- Spain: The economy that continues to silence the critics
- Latin America: The Most Unequal Region in the World
- The History of OPEC: Has it been a Success?
- FocusEconomics Announces 2017 Analyst Forecast Awards Winners
- Latin America’s rising unemployment bucks nearly decade long trend
- Escape from the Central Bank Trap by Daniel Lacalle
- China's economic rebalancing act: What to look out for in 2017
- Driving Growth in Latin America: Challenges & Priorities
- Is the Global Economy Rebalancing?
- Commodity exporters face challenging times
- Recent Global Events Facilitate Mercosur-Pacific Alliance
- 23 economic experts weigh in: Why is productivity growth so low?
- Mexico's outlook as Trump nears 100-day mark
- Interview with Oxford Economics Senior Economist on implications of the possible outcomes of the French Presidential Election
- The anxiety of the small saver in a world of negative interest rates
- Brexit negotiations. Between Uncertainty and Urgency
- An Economic History of the EU from El Blog Salmón
- Baby Boomin': Implications of high population growth in Latin America
- Survey of International Economists Predicts a Le Pen Defeat in French Elections, Says Macron has Best Economic Plan
- Spain in a global context: developed economy with some challenges
- How much is crime costing Latin America?
- Predictions & Estimates from Economist Daniel Lacalle
- What economy will the new Dutch government inherit?
- “The data is not a true reflection of reality in India” Interview with Société Générale India Economist
- What are the prospects for Emerging Economies in 2017?
- What to expect in Asia for 2017
- Top Economics & Finance Blogs of 2017
- Latam to Resume Moderate Growth in 2017 but Important Risks Plague Outlook
- 4 Key European Elections That Will Impact the Economy in 2017
- How are security concerns and political chaos affecting Turkey’s economy?
- Global growth to edge up in 2017
- Set to breach targets again? Debt and deficit outlooks for Southern European Eurozone countries in 2016 & 2017
- What does Donald Trump mean for the U.S. economy?
- How will emerging markets perform in 2017?
- The economic impact of a break in U.S.-Philippines ties
- Trump election: Base metals surge due to infrastructure plan
- 5 updates on the Venezuelan economic crisis
- Canada: When your neighbor’s house is on fire…
- Short-term pain before long-term gain? A look at French labor reform and economic growth
- Asia: Unremarkable growth & unfulfilled promises?
- How India's latest monsoon is affecting the economy
- Innovation in Latin America: Potential Goes Untapped Due to Weak Economic Conditions
- Russian economy update in wake of OPEC deal announcement
- The Wisdom of the Crowds and the Consensus Forecast
- Can the peso predict the U.S. election results?
- There's no end in sight to the Venezuela crisis
- A Look at the European Union Political Calendar
- Survey of international economists shows uncertainty surrounding elections damaging U.S. growth prospects
- FocusEconomics partners with leading online statistics provider Statista
- China: Recent postive economic data may be papering over the cracks
- Sub-Saharan Africa's 2016 & 2017 growth rates
- The Italian Dilemma: Weak banks pose risk to already faltering domestic demand
- How much money do migrants from Latin America send home?
- The U.S.' (Not So) Mysterious Case of the Missing Men
- What to expect from the G20 economies by 2020
- The Pain in Spain: Robust GDP growth cannot mask the persistent structural deficit