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A Time of Opportunities in Latin America

by Juan Pablo Cuevas, Head of Global Transaction Services, Latin America and the Caribbean, Bank of America Merrill Lynch

Those of us holding our breath for a surge in Latin American economic growth may have to wait a while longer – but a rising middle class, abundant natural resources and progress towards more open markets combine to make a strong case for investment.

An economic renaissance for the region was widely predicted just a decade ago yet, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), regional growth has slowed for four consecutive years, from a peak of 6.1% in 2010, to 1.3% in 2014.

Faced with those figures, it might be tempting to look elsewhere for business expansion – but that would be to miss out on the very real opportunities for growth and progress that lie behind the headline numbers. Those opportunities are driven by two main factors: the emergence of a middle class of more affluent consumers and a move to lower barriers between markets in the region. A third factor, offset recently by falling commodity prices, is the region’s abundance of natural resources.