SANTIAGO – The value of exports from Latin America and the Caribbean will grow by 10 percent this year after five years of decline, the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) reported on Monday.
In its report entitled “International Trade Outlook for Latin America and the Caribbean 2017,” the ECLAC said that the predicted increase in regional exports can be broken down into an increase in prices of 6.5 percent and an increase in exported volume of 3.5 percent.
The ECLAC forecasts that imports will also recover after four years of declines, growing by 7 percent in 2017.
The organization’s executive secretary, Alicia Barcena, said upon presenting the report that the recovery in trade in the region comes within a “context of uncertainty” in the macroeconomic, technological and geopolitical spheres.
The main factors that will favor the increase in regional foreign trade this year are the economic dynamism of some of the main partners and the recovery of economic growth in the region, which after two years of recession is predicted to enjoy an increase of 1.2 percent in 2017 and 2.2 percent in 2018.
In addition, the report foresees higher prices for several basic export products and the dismantling of customs restrictions in certain countries.
The recovery in exports is to be led by an increase in shipments to China, which in 2017 will register a year-on-year increase of 23 percent in value, while exports to the rest of the Asian countries will grow by 17 percent.
Regarding trade within the region, the ECLAC expects that the value of exports among the Latin American countries will grow by 10 percent.
By country, those registering the greatest increases in the value of their exports are forecast to be Honduras (29.6 percent), Uruguay (23.8 percent), Nicaragua (23.5 percent), Brazil (18 percent) and Colombia (16.5 percent).
On the opposite side of the trade ledger, heading the list in terms of increasing imports will be Argentina (21.3 percent), Ecuador (21.1 percent), The Bahamas (20.1 percent) and Paraguay (19.6 percent), while at the other extreme, imports will decline in Venezuela by a predicted 21.8 percent after falling by 35.7 percent in 2016, according to the report.