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Latin American registers strong export growth in 2011

The year ends with similar growth levels as 2010, but a reduction in the growth rate is expected for 2012

Latin America’s projected 2011 export growth of 26 percent to approximately $1.1 trillion continues the strong growth posted in 2010, according to new estimates by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).

Intra-regional exports grew by 24 percent, while extra-regional flows expanded 26 percent. Intra-regional trade as a share of Latin America’s total trade with the world has declined to an estimated 17.1 percent in 2011, compared with 17.3 percent in 2010.

These are some of the preliminary figures presented by the Integration and Trade Sector of the IDB in its annual report entitled “Latin American Preliminary Trade Estimates 2011”.

On a sub-regional level, exports by the Andean Community led the region, increasing by 37 percent over 2010 levels. Meanwhile, Mercosur, Chile, Mexico, and the Central American Common Market saw their exports grow by 28, 17, 19, and 20 percent, respectively. Venezuela’s exports grew 45 percent during the first three quarters of the year.

Differences in export performance within Latin America in recent years are determined by each country’s export structure in terms of destination and products. In particular, the Southern Cone is showing a decreasing dependence on the region and an increasing diversification toward larger developing economies outside the region. The rebound in commodity prices boosted exports by South American economies from mid-2009 through mid-2011 as international demand gradually recovered.

The debt crisis in the Euro-zone and its threat to the international financial system, and the prospects for a reduction in the fiscal deficit of the United States, could negatively impact Latin America. International demand for commodities will continue to rely on the strong performance of the emerging economies, led by China.

The report anticipates that Latin America’s growth rate will be reduced in 2012 as a result of the uncertainty in the global markets and the potential reduction in the demand for basic products.

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