- Alejandro Werner, Director, Western Hemisphere Department, International Monetary Fund (IMF)
- José Enrique Arrioja, Editor, Reportero, Bloomberg Spanish (moderator)
The external conditions for Latin America's economy to grow are ripe, said Alejandro Werner in AS/COA's annual outlook event in New York, with regional GDP forecast to rise 1.9 percent in 2018, up from 1.3 percent in 2017. The IMF's Western Hemisphere director discussed the factors facing Latin America's major economies, from pension reform in Brazil to NAFTA talks for Mexico. But as most of the region's economies expand, Venezuela continues to face the worst economic contraction seen in Latin Ameria's recent history. By the end of the year, GDP is expected to be 45 percent less than it was in 2013, and inflation will reach 13,000 percent, the economist said.