On October 6, the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) released a report entitled Economic Survey of Latin America and the Caribbean 2020.
This study is divided into three parts. Part I outlines the region’s economic performance in 2019, then analyses the first six months of 2020 and the outlook for the remainder of the year. Part II of the document describes the greater financial vulnerability that will exist in the world and the region once the COVID-19 pandemic has abated, and will act as the backdrop for the subsequent economic recovery. The report analyses the main constraints on fiscal and monetary policies in Latin America and the Caribbean in this new context. Part III contains the notes on the economic performance of the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean in 2019 and the first half of 2020, together with their respective statistical annexes. The cut-off date for updating the statistical information in this publication was 24 July 2020.
According to the report, Latin America and the Caribbean is experiencing its worst economic crisis in a century, with an estimated -9.1% contraction in regional Gross Domestic Product (GDP). As a result, by the end of 2020, the level of GDP per capita will be the same as it was in 2010 – which means that there will have been a 10-year setback, with a sharp increase in inequality and poverty.
In addition, 2.7 million formal businesses are forecast to close in 2020, while unemployment is seen affecting 44 million people (with an increase of 18 million people versus the level seen in 2019, marking the largest surge since the global financial crisis).
Furthermore, poverty is seen reaching the same levels observed in 2005, meaning that it would suffer a 15-year backslide, affecting 231 million people, while extreme poverty is forecast to reach 1990 levels, entailing a 30-year setback and affecting 96 million people.
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