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Economic outlook for Latin America: A virtual conversation

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Latin America received good news about its 2011 economic growth projection last week in front of a global audience that interacted with World Bank experts via the web and social networks during the 2011 Spring Meetings.

The good news is that the regional economy will keep growing in 2011 at 4-5%. In view of such projections, typical problems such as runaway inflation seem to have become a thing of the past.

Growth forecasts for 2011 equal those for the fast-growing “tigers” or East Asian economies, according to the Latin America and the Caribbean’s Success Put to the Test report.

The document was presented during a press conference in Washington and, for the first time live via webcast, prompting a record number of questions.Twitter and Facebook users were able to ask questions live and after the event, through @worldbanklac. World Bank Chief Economist for the region, Augusto de la Torre, answered questions and as well as others from accredited media.

The report addresses the region’s macroeconomic strength, underpinned by increasing commodity demand and foreign investment, but also questions whether it will be able to maintain growth expectations in the face of overheating threats.

Questions came from Latin America, the United States and even Australia, and focused on issues such as currency appreciation, inflation, poverty and development. For example, Alfredo Molina from Paraguay asked whether his country’s economy risks were “overheating” due to inflationary pressures. De la Torre responded to Molina’s question, pointing out that Latin America should now seek long-term economic development.

Twitter user @Piensa22 suggested that, to avoid negative economic cycles, “the stronger economies in the region should help those with weaker economies.”

“We need to prioritize an agenda that relaxes limits to long term growth without inflation, by investing in human and physical capital and innovation,” de la Torre maintained.

De la Torre added that Latin America is ready to face this challenge due to the significant reduction in poverty and financial stability achieved in recent years.

World Bank Live: LAC Economic Perspectives (Spanish only)
Press Release
Feature story: Overheating, Inflation Threaten Region’s Economic Success


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