By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – The latest report from the United Nation agency ECLAC (Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean) shows a downward revision of its economic growth projection for the regional Gross Domestic Product (GDP), to only a 1.0 percent increase in 2015. The latest forecast is significantly lower than the estimate released by the agency in December, which stood at 2.2 percent GDP growth in the region.
“With the exception of the United States, industrialized countries have revised their growth estimates downward, and emerging economies continue to decelerate. The region is expected to keep economic growth at around the same level as in 2014,” stated the press release issued by ECLAC on Tuesday, April 7th. In 2014 the regional GDP grew by 1.1 percent.
According to the report, ECLAC forecasts a nearly zero percentage growth for the GDP in South America while Central America and Mexico should grow by 3.2 percent and Caribbean nations by 1.9 percent.
The United Nations agency argued that the particularities of the region’s economies, strongly supported by commodities production, would play a significant role in the economic growth outcome for the area. It states that the “end of so-called ‘supercycle’ in commodity prices is affecting several countries in the region negatively.”
According to ECLAC the countries with the largest economic growth during 2015 will be Panama, with a 6.0 percent increase in its GDP, Antigua and Barbuda (5.4 percent), and Bolivia, Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic (each with 5.0 percent).
Among Mercosur countries, only Uruguay (+3.0 percent) and Paraguay (+4.2 percent) are expected to register growths in their national GDP. Brazil is expected to register a contraction in its GDP of 0.9 percent, Venezuela’s GDP should retract by 3.5 percent and Argentina will show a zero percent growth, according to ECLAC.