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Coronavirus is hammering Latin American economies

Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro, who has been criticized for not taking the coronavirus seriously, waves at a crowd while wearing a soccer shirt.
Reuters/Adriano Machado
Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro has been criticized for not taking the coronavirus seriously
  • Max de Haldevang
By Max de Haldevang

Geopolitics reporter

Latin American economies are set to suffer heavily from the new coronavirus pandemic and plummeting oil prices, with the region’s collective GDP to shrink 1.5% in 2020, Credit Suisse said in a note to clients.

Mexico and Chile are especially vulnerable, due to their heavy reliance on trade with the US and China respectively, the bank wrote. About a third of Mexican GDP comes from exports, while Chile, the world’s biggest copper producer, is being battered by low prices stemming from weak Chinese demand.

Only Colombia and Peru are set to grow, though Credit Suisse also cut its predictions for both those countries. The bank mentioned Mexico, Colombia, and Ecuador as particularly affected by collapsing oil prices. The note was first reported by Reuters.

The virus has had a fairly limited impact so far in Latin America. There are fewer than 1,400 confirmed cases in the region—lower than the individual tally for several small European countries. But those numbers are expected to grow rapidly in the coming days and weeks.

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