Over the last year three key factors have weighed heavily on Latin American economies: The end of the U.S. Fed’s quantitative easing, which has brought about less favorable international funding conditions; the decline in commodity prices, which has depressed LatAm export revenues, and the Chinese economic slowdown, which also has hit commodity-exporting countries in the region. As a result, economic growth this year has been a huge disappointment. In January, the consensus forecast was for GDP growth of about 3%, but now expectations have fallen dramatically to a 0.4%contraction.
As a result of the appalling situation in Brazil, economic power in the region has shifted rapidly to Mexico, the second biggest economy in LatAm. Mexico’s growth has been hampered by the crash in oil prices but the economy is growing, by around 2% year-over-year, and the economic outlook is positive. Solid domestic economic fundamentals, and my expectation of a resilient and improving U.S. economy over the next year, should help push Mexican growth towards 2.5%.