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World Bank economist: Worst of financial crisis over in Latin America

September 29th, 2009
Augusto de la Torre, the World Bank's chief economist for Latin America

Augusto de la Torre, the World Bank's chief economist for Latin America

The worst of the financial crisis is over for Latin America, a region poised to recover, thanks to the extraordinary dynamism of the Brazilian economy, said Augusto de la Torre, the World Bank’s chief economist for Latin America.

During the first plenary session at the Americas Conference in Coral Gables, De la Torre warned, however, that significant frailties remain — specifically in the labor market and the region’s private demand.

In earlier remarks, Pamela Cox, vice president for Latin America of the World Bank, said the region should grow 3 percent in 2010 after contracting between 2 and 2.5 percent in 2009.

De la Torre said Latin America is well positioned for recovery and could contribute to the world’s rebound more than China, adding that the region should get out of the world crisis relatively unscathed and even emerge as an attractive destination for investment.

“Latin America can actually help the world more than people think,” he said, since its economy as a whole is almost as big as China but consumption is much larger.

De la Torre cautioned, however, that the region needs to step up its productivity-oriented agenda to take the best advantage of the recovery.

“The region has improved its social and macroeconomic policies in recent years, but it still lags behind Asia in terms of innovation and productivity,” he said.


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