Latin America and the Caribbean’s 2021 Economic Outlook

By Holly K. Sonneland

The region’s recovery will be slow and depend in part on effective vaccine distribution and stable oil prices.

Four years. That’s how long it will take Latin America and the Caribbean to recover pre-pandemic economic growth, says the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) in its 2021 preliminary overview report.

Growth in 2021 is expected to reach 3.7 percent, due mostly to a statistical rebound after, in 2020, contracting 7.7 percent to mark the deepest recession among the world’s emerging economic regions. The World Bank also arrived at 3.7 percent growth in its 2021 growth projection for the region, followed by 2.8 percent in 2022.

The baseline projections assume that vaccine rollouts will gather steam in the latter half of 2021 while oil prices maintain a $44 per barrel average on the year. Governments will need to work to mitigate external financial stresses while reducing debt, as well as alleviate rising poverty and informality, all while climate change and natural disasters continue to affect the region.

AS/COA Online breaks down ECLAC’s regional GDP figures and other indicators of note.