First virtual TOC Americas conference

Pandemic pushes Latin American economies to 30-year lows

According to economists at the first virtual TOC Americas conference, the overall Latin American economy has been set back almost 30 years as a consequence of the rapid contraction of economic activity resulting from the current pandemic.

A gloomy picture for economic activity in Latin America appeared this year, despite recent signs that a V-shaped recovery was taking shape in the third quarter of 2020.

Covid-19 has produced the worst social and economic impact in recent decades, said Ricardo Sanchez, senior economic affairs officer for infrastructure and ports, at the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean.

“In numbers the regional economy was facing the prospect of 44 million people unemployed and 231 million people living in poverty and 96 million people living in extreme poverty, that is a setback of 30 years,” said Sanchez. “This suggests that the recovery will be slow and the economic and social impact cost of the crisis could continue to rise in 2021. GDP per capita in 2020 could fall back to levels of 2010 and the poverty rate could reach levels last seen in 2006.”

The deep contraction in demand starting in the second quarter of the year was felt sharpest on the east coast of South America according to data from shipping consultants Drewry.

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