Latin America and the Caribbean was the region with the highest export volume growth in the last quarter of 2011 and the first four months of 2012, amidst the global trade slowdown, according to the 13 September Annual report " Latin America and the Caribbean in the World economy 2011-12 " by the Economic Commission for Latin America and Caribbean (ECLAC). This performance is explained in part by the fact that the region is less dependent than others on the European Union as a destination market.
More from the report..
The value of the region’s goods exports and imports will climb by around 4% and 3%, respectively, in 2012.
The commodities “supercycle” which began in 2003 could last until 2020, with price growth below the peaks of mid-2008 but higher than the historical trend. This is good news for South America, but less auspicious for Central America and the Caribbean. commodity prices are expected to remain above their historical averages in the coming years
Major shifts in the region’s foreign trade over the past decade in terms of export destination structure have built greater resilience. Between 2000 and 2011, the United States’ share dropped by almost 20 percentage points, from 58% to 39%. In contrast, Asia’s share rose steeply (from 6% to 18%), with China jumping from 1% to 9%. Exports within Latin America and the Caribbean also increased, from 16% to 20%. In short, developing regions have grown as destinations for Latin American and Caribbean exports; since they are also the world’s fastest-growing economies, lower demand for Latin American and Caribbean exports in the industrialized countries has had less of an impact.
Trade between developing nations (South-South trade) will be more buoyant than trade between industrialized countries (North-North trade) and at the current rates, South-South trade could exceed North-North trade by 2020.
As in the rest of the world, trade restrictions have increased in Latin America and the Caribbean, although not across the board. Particularly in Argentina and Brazil, faltering growth in the past few quarters has fuelled demands from certain sectors to protect national industry. This has occurred in the context of a trend, already observed prior to the crisis, towards greater penetration of Asian manufactures (especially from China) which have displaced imports from the rest of the world as well as local production. As a result, in recent months some countries of the region have introduced measures or made announcements that point to further import restrictions, mainly on industrial products. Some of these actions have been called into question, both within and outside the region.