APLA '12: Problems nip at heels of Latin American growth

12 November 2012 02:07  [Source: ICIS news]

RIO DE JANEIRO (ICIS)--Growth prospects for Latin America will brighten in 2013, with some problems still persisting in the region, a Brazilian economist said on Sunday.

The issues faced are competitiveness, logistics, capital formation and higher business costs, said Eduardo Giannetti da Fonseca, a Brazilian economist.

He made his comments during a presentation at the Latin American Petrochemical Association (APLA) annual meeting.

The region's record of growth provides Latin America with an opportunity to improve and invest in logistics, human capital and research and development.

The region needs to discover how to add value to products, he said. The petrochemical and chemical industry has a lot to contribute in achieving that goal.

Fonseca warned against state intervention and the maintenance of the rule of law. "Changes are highly noxious to investment," he said.

Prices need to reflect actual production costs, since price manipulation harms long-term investments, Fonseca said.

While the region as a whole has taken a mature and responsible approach to inflation, Fonseca did criticise Argentina for the nation's handling of its inflation statistics.

The region's inflation is widely believed to exceed 20%. However, official Argentine statistics place the rate well below that figure.

Local economists and consultants who contradict the official inflation rate face large penalties, Fonseca said.

"Can you imagine if I were an economist in Argentina?" Fonseca asked. "I would be ruined by this time."

The APLA conference ends on Tuesday.

By: Al Greenwood
+1 713 525 2645

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