Western Hemisphere Region

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2022

April 26, 2022

Regional Economic Outlook for the Western Hemisphere, April 2022

Description: The war in Ukraine is shaking the world economy and raising uncertainty about the outlook for Latin America and the Caribbean. Even before the war, the region’s recovery from the pandemic was losing momentum and growth is returning to its pre-pandemic trend rate of around 2.5 percent for 2022. The war brings a further shock to inflation, and policymakers across the region have reacted decisively by tightening monetary policy and implementing measures to soften the blow of higher food and energy prices on the most vulnerable—thus mitigating the risks of social unrest. Rising interest rates complicate the management of already high debt levels, and an escalation of the war could further tighten financial conditions in the region. In this context, an inclusive fiscal consolidation strategy would maintain support for the vulnerable while helping rebuild buffers.

2021

October 21, 2021

Regional Economic Outlook for Western Hemisphere, October 2021

Description: An economic recovery is underway in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) but the pandemic still casts shadows on much of the region. The recovery was robust in the first quarter of 2021 but lost momentum in some countries in the second quarter, reflecting the rebound in COVID-19 cases. Real GDP is projected to grow by 6.3 percent in 2021, followed by a more moderate growth of 3 percent in 2022, but would not catch up with pre-pandemic trends in the medium term as persistent weakness in labor markets raises risks of scarring. Broadly favorable external conditions, high commodity prices, and pent-up demand support short-term growth, while monetary and fiscal policy reversals work in the other direction. Risks to the outlook are tilted downward. Main downside risks are the emergence of more transmissible and deadlier COVID-19 variants, tightening of global financial conditions, sovereign debt rollover risks, and social unrest as a year with heavy election schedule looms. Fiscal policy should allocate sufficient resources for health spending, including vaccination, and continue to support households and firms in a more targeted fashion while the pandemic persists, backed by credible assurances of medium-term debt sustainability to maintain access to finance. Monetary policy has started to address inflationary pressures but should continue to support economic activity insofar as the dynamics of inflation expectations permit. Financial policy should shift from blanket support to targeted support of viable firms, to ensure that necessary labor and capital reallocations are not hindered. Supply-side policies should foster inclusive growth, including through progressive and growth-friendly tax reforms and measures to intensify climate change adaptation and mitigation.

2020

2019

2018

May 9, 2018

Regional Economic Outlook: Seizing the Momentum

Description: The broad-based acceleration of global growth in 2017 is reflected in the solid gains posted by the economies of the United States and Canada, both of which are expected to grow above potential in the near term. More broadly, growth in both advanced and emerging market and developing economies is expected to gain further momentum in 2018 and 2019, reflecting the effects of expansionary US fiscal policy, favorable global financial conditions, and improved prospects for external demand. Risks to the outlook are broadly balanced in the near term. Over the medium term, however, global growth is expected to soften, and risks are tilted to the downside, owing to the possibility of a sharp tightening of financial conditions, escalating trade tensions and risks of a further shift toward protectionist policies, and geopolitical strains.

2017

2016

October 7, 2016

Regional Economic Outlook (REO) Update: Western Hemisphere - Latin America and the Caribbean: Are Chills Here to Stay?, October 2016

Description: Economic activity in Latin America and the Caribbean is expected to bottom out in 2016, before making a modest recovery next year. While weak external demand and persistently low commodity prices continue to weigh on the regional outlook, domestic developments have been the key driver of growth outcomes in some stressed economies. GDP is expected to contract by 0.6 percent in 2016 before recovering to 1.6 percent growth in 2017. Recurrent growth disappointments point to lower potential growth, underscoring the need for structural reforms to boost productive capacity, but these will take time to bear fruit. Exchange rate flexibility has served the region well and, with shifting global trends, should continue to serve as the first line of defense against adverse shocks. In many cases, the need for a contractionary monetary policy stance is no longer evident, with inflation and inflation expectations returning to target levels. With risks still on the downside, countries should use the improved global financial environment to rebuild their fiscal buffers while preserving critical capital expenditures and social outlays. Uncertainty concerning the duration of easy global financial conditions poses risks for the region, while financial and corporate sector vulnerabilities bear closer monitoring.

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