Chart: Latin America's 2019 Economic Outlook

By Elizabeth Gonzalez

The region’s GDP is expected to grow 1.7 percent but uncertainty looms, given global trade tensions, an oil-price drop, and other factors affecting emerging markets.

What does 2019 have in store for Latin America’s economy? More uncertainty. A December report from the UN’s Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) warns that deteriorating financial conditions, global trade tensions such as the U.S.-China trade war, and a drop in crude oil prices will affect the economic prospects of emerging markets across the board. That said, Latin America’s GDP growth is expected to improve, from an estimated 1.2 percent in 2018 to 1.7 percent in 2019. But 2018 fell below ECLAC’s initial 2.2 percent projection for the region.

The economies expected to perform the best this year are the Dominican Republic and Panama, with GDP growth at 5.7 and 5.6 percent, respectively. Venezuela will once again be the region’s worst performer, with a 10.0 percent GDP contraction. The other two countries that experienced a recession in 2018, Argentina and Nicaragua, will see drops in their GDP again of 1.8 percent and 2.0 percent, respectively, in 2019.
AS/COA Online breaks down the regional forecast and factors to look out for in the new year.