Two per cent growth predicted for Caribbean economies – ECLAC

SANTIAGO, Chile, Thursday April 25, 2013 – The Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) is predicting a two per cent growth for Caribbean economies in 2013.

ECLAC said that the anticipated result is “on the back of the buoyancy of economies specialized in producing and exporting raw materials, mainly Guyana and Suriname, and the recovery in countries more focused on exporting tourist services, as a result of the improved economic situation in the United States”.

Overall, ECLAC said regional countries will grow, on average, by 3.5 per cent in 2013, thanks to buoyant internal demand and the improved performance of some countries.

The United Nations agency said that the 2013 results are partly due to the expectations of higher growth in Argentina and Brazil “thanks to the upturn in agricultural activity and investment, which fell in those countries in 2012.

“The regional expansion is also backed by ongoing growth in consumption in the wake of improved labor indicators and rising bank credit to the private sector and, to a lesser extent, investment.

“This has combined with consistently high prices for raw materials, which are expected to remain elevated, despite falling in relation to levels seen in 2012,” ECLAC said. 

In the new report, ECLAC predicts regional growth that is slightly lower than the estimated 3.8 per cent provided in December.

“This is mainly due to the ongoing uncertainty about the future of the world economy, sluggish developed economies and a less dynamic recovery than expected in Argentina and Brazil,” it said.

ECLAC said Paraguay will lead growth in 2013, with an expected rise in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of 10 percent, followed by Panama (8.0 per cent), Peru (6.0 per cent) and Haiti (6.0 per cent).

It said Cuba, Haiti and the Dominican Republic are expected to benefit from “a more buoyant United States economy, combined with improvements in the agricultural sector, especially in Cuba, Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic, and the construction sector in Guatemala, Haiti and Honduras”.

According to ECLAC, Latin American and Caribbean GDP grew by three per cent in 2012, as a result of a subdued growth in the world economy due to the recession in Europe, slower growth in China and slow growth in the United States.

It said South America grew by 2.5 percent, whereas Cuba, Haiti and the Dominican Republic expanded by 4.3 per cent.

ECLAC said the 0.9 per cent rise in Caribbean GDP represents faster growth than in 2010 and 2011. (CMC) Click here to receive free news bulletins via email from Caribbean360. (View sample)