Goods exports from Latin America and the Caribbean have increased by 10% this year, hinting that foreign trade is on the way to recovery and the region is returning to growth.
The Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) has said in a statement that the region “will leave behind half a decade of declines in the prices of its export basket and a weak increase in exported volume.”
The UN agency also expects the region’s imports to recover after four years of declining values, projecting it to grow 7% in 2017.
After two years of recession, the regional economy is now projected to grow 1.2% in 2017 and 2.2% in 2018.
“Although there is great uncertainty in macroeconomic, technological and geopolitical arenas at an international level, various factors have contributed to the trade recovery,” the agency added.
According to the document, the recovery in regional exports in 2017 will be led by shipments to China and the rest of Asia (23% and 17% value increase, respectively) while goods exports to the United States and within the region will expand at a rate near the average (9% and 10%, respectively).
For the year as a whole, growth in the value of intra-regional exports is forecast at 10%. Their weight as a percentage of the region’s total shipments abroad is seen at 16.8%, below the maximum level of nearly 22% reached in 1994, the report states.
“This highlights the urgent need to deepen regional integration, even more so considering the recent shift in US trade policy and the uncertainty associated with the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).”