Forecasting Latin America

Symposium features leading global economist discussing the region's economic future.

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UM News

MIAMI, Fla. (June 25, 2014) — While many of Latin America’s medium-sized economies will show solid gains in 2014, growth in the region’s largest economies likely will continue to disappoint, a leading global economist told a group of financial analysts, researchers, and academics on Friday.

“The Latin American outlook is mixed,” David Hale, founder and chairman of a Chicago-based consulting firm that provides research and guidance to asset management companies worldwide, said at a University of Miami Center for Hemispheric Policy symposium on the region’s economic forecast for this year and beyond.

Speaking at the Conrad Miami Hotel June 20, Hale reeled off a list of countries along with their 2014 growth rates as projected by the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean. Among them: Peru (5.5 percent), Colombia (3.7 percent), Mexico (3.5 percent), Brazil (2.6 percent), and Argentina (1 percent).

But Hale said he sees the potential for better growth opportunities occurring in Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, and even Venezuela.

The latter, Venezuela, has surpassed Saudi Arabia to become the world’s largest holder of proven oil reserves. But Hale described the country as “a fiscal and monetary disaster” with “no coherent policies.” He pointed out the possibility of China and Russia investing in Venezuela but noted that, so far, such investment has not occurred. “Will it be forthcoming? We just don’t know the answer to that question,” he said.

Hale didn’t limit his forecast to Latin America. He provided a global economic outlook on regions from Europe to Africa to Asia. Among his conclusions and observations:

• Strong gains in employment, robust business sentiment, and rebounding consumer sector are helping to power a solid recovery of the U.S. economy.

• European recovery remains intact, although growth outside of Germany has not been as strong as was hoped for at the beginning of 2014.

• Sub-Saharan Africa is the big story, with a growth rate of 6 percent.

• Nigeria’s economy will continue to outperform South Africa’s in the coming years.

• China saw overdevelopment and weakness in new construction and home sales, but there’s still a demand for housing in the country.

Hale’s remarks served as the keynote address for the conference, which also included panels on “Latin America’s Economic and Political Risk Overview,” “Country Economic Outlook,” and “Issues Impacting Latin America’s Growth Prospects.”


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