The expected average rate of growth of 2.6 percent for the Latin American and Caribbean economies in 2013 is half a percentage point less than 3.1 percent in 2012.
This lower regional yearly average is explained by the weaker performance of the major regional economies, which pushed down the average, given their relative weight of almost two-thirds in the regional product.
In 2013, growth in Brazil improved from 1.0 percent in 2012 to a still weak 2.4 percent, while Mexico's performance was surprising, with a decrease from 3.9 percent in 2012 to 1.3 percent in 2013.
Executive Secretary Alicia Bárcena of the Economic Commission of the United Nations for Latin America and the Caribbean said in Santiago, Chile, that less external demand, greater international volatility and falling consumption were the factors contributing to the slowdown.
By contrast, the midsize economies of South America performed above the regional average, with Chile and Colombia around 4 percent, while Peru over 5 percent.
Also above average was the regional rate of growth of 3.7 percent of the Central American economies, with Panama still among the fastest growing economies with 7.5 percent.
The economies of the English-speaking Caribbean this year are expected to grow an average of slightly above 1 percent.
The projection by the Economic Commission is that in 2014 there will be an increase to 3.2 percent in the regional average rate of growth.
Isaac Cohen is an international analyst and consultant, a commentator on economic and financial issues for CNN en Español TV and radio, and a former director, UNECLAC Washington Office.
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