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ECONOMY | 10-10-2019 15:19

World Bank: Slowdown in Latin America 'more self-inflicted than imported'

World Bank predicts Argentina's economic contraction will deepen this year to 3.1%.

Economies in Latin America and the Caribbean are experiencing "lacklustre performance," with the region expected to grow by just 0.8 percent this year, the World Bank said Thursday.

However, the institution said the downturn was "more self-inflicted than imported" in a statement. 

"It would be tempting to attribute the slow growth of the region to a less conducive external environment. However, in general, the slowdown seems more self-inflicted than imported," the World Bank's latest semi-annual report said.

The institution, which offered an outlook for each nation in the region bar Venezuela, says it expects the region's economy to expand by 1.8 percent in 2020.

According to its report, Argentina's economy will contract by even more than anticipated, 3.1 percent in 2019.

The World Bank also highlighted meagre expected growth in Mexico of 0.6 percent this year, a slump after two-percent growth in 2018.

The report said that "some countries are still doing well, but the largest economies in the region have faced recession, macroeconomic instability or growth slowdown." 

At a time of acute commercial tensions, the Bank warned that "the outlook could deteriorate if the international environment becomes less conducive." 

"The years of high prices for raw materials are clearly behind. Now we must focus on areas such as trade integration to boost productivity in the region," said Martín Rama, chief economist at the WB for Latin America and the Caribbean. 

an / gm

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