More Growth For Latin America, Caribbean 2007-2008

UN Commission predicts 5% growth in 2007, 4.6% growth in 2008.

The UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean on Thursday predicted regional economies will grow 5% on average in 2007, followed by 4.6% growth in 2008.

If the 2008 forecast holds out, it would mark six years of sustained economic growth for Latin America, its longest expansion in 27 years, said the ECLAC report: "Economic Study of Latin America and the Caribbean 2006-2007."

South American nations, above all, were benefiting from world price increases of raw materials and expanding exports, while Central America and the Caribbean benefited to a lesser degree, the study said.

ECLAC Secretary General Jose Luis Machinea said Latin American economies "are going through a very favorable period featuring sustained growth, almost without exception, in every country in the region."

Fueling the regional boom is Brazil, the region's largest economy, forecast to grow 4.5% in 2007 and 2008 after a sluggish 3.7% in 2006 and 2.9% in 2005, said the study.

Other regional economies' expected growth in 2007, in decreasing order of magnitude, include Panama (8.5%), Argentina and Dominican Republic (7.5%), Peru (7.3%), Colombia and Venezuela (6.8%), Chile and Costa Rica (6%).

Slower growth for 2007 was predicted for Honduras (5.5%), Uruguay (5.2%), Guatemala (5%), Brazil (4.5%), El Salvador (4.5%), Nicaragua (4.3%), Bolivia (4.2%), Paraguay (4%, Ecuador and Haiti (3.5%).

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2007

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