Americas Roundup: September 2016
20 Sep 2016
The 2016 news cycle has been largely dominated by the US presidential election, the Syrian civil war and refugee crisis, Brexit’s impact on the future of the EU, and a handful of other issues. The Latin American and Caribbean region is often overlooked in this landscape, so it was a welcome change when the world was transfixed on Brazil and the region at large for a few weeks during the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
The protracted lower price of oil and other commodities have had obvious impacts on all export-oriented economies; this has been true throughout the region and has been most pronounced in Brazil and Venezuela. Although government budgets and public spending programmes have been squeezed, there are still reasons to remain bullish about the region’s prospects going forward.
This spring, Argentina returned to the global debt market after more than a decade of absence by issuing $16.5bn in sovereign bonds. The expanded Panama Canal, which will fundamentally shift trade flows for decades to come, welcomed its first ships in late June; in July, Peru saw a peaceful presidential transition after a hard-fought political campaign; and in August, negotiators from the Colombian government and FARC guerrilla group reached an agreement to end more than 50 years of armed conflict.
And even though the words “Mexico”, “wall” and “Donald Trump” have become inextricably linked, the country continues to attract significant foreign direct investment in its automotive, aerospace and energy sectors.
The region still faces significant challenges such as dealing with chronic poverty, informal employment and sluggish economic growth, however, and continued investment in soft infrastructure, namely health and education services, will be paramount to bridge the innovation gap and move towards knowledge-based economies. Some countries are further along than others, but innovation is crucial as the 21st century engine of economic growth.
Below you’ll find some select content from our most recent Reports which highlight a few of the top stories from the region.