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The Contrarian: Could a World Cup victory rescue the Brazilian economy?

The Contrarian: Could a World Cup victory rescue the Brazilian economy?

The incredible effect of the Seleção verde amarela. After averaging 4.5 percent per year GDP growth over the last decade, Brazil has begun a two-year (’14-15) slowdown, stunted by falling commodity prices, rising inflation and wilting consumer confidence. Chest beating Brazil, leader of the Brics, resource rich and business savvy, seems to have lost its [...]

The Chinese Debt Crisis – Domino Effect On Latin America

The Chinese Debt Crisis – Domino Effect On Latin America

China today is much more than South America’s second largest customer. China is the largest source of soft loans to these governments. With growth slowing, skyrocketing municipal debt will soon lead to a fiscal crisis. On December 30th 2013, a long awaited report published by China’s National Audit Office confirmed the fears of many – [...]

Source: AlixPartners Analysis

Reversal of Fortunes in Latin America

Over the last 10 years, fortune has smiled upon exporters of natural resources. In Latin America, countries in Central America, the Caribbean and México, all tied traditionally to the U.S. economy, have grimaced with envy as investment dollars went to South America, whose economic motor is China. But softening commodity prices, a resurgent U.S. economy [...]

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2014 – Rising Investor Risk in South America

Since protests in Brazil took its leaders and the world by surprise in June 2013, many have wondered if the political frustrations of Latin America’s largest nation might soon spread elsewhere. The safe bet is yes. There are four worrisome trends at play in the region that together foretell a period of rising political risk. [...]

Latin America’s booming pharma industry is a local affair

Latin America’s booming pharma industry is a local affair

Getting older and wealthier by the day, Latin Americans increasingly visit their pharmacy. Since 2008, the region is by far the fastest growing pharmaceutical market in the world. By 2017, Brazil will become the fourth largest pharma market, behind the U.S., China and Japan. But, this impressive growth story is not a victory for multinationals. [...]

Illustration: ©iStockphoto.com / hjalmeida

Oh, Canada?

When the upstart Canadian Council for the Americas hosted its first gala dinner in 2011 in Toronto, the event sold out in a few weeks, with over 400 people paying $500 per seat.  Attending Canadian media was astounded. Canadian business was not. The relationship between Canada and Latin America & the Caribbean (LAC) dates back [...]

©iStockphoto.com/ Anil Yanik

Latin America’s Brave New Demographics

Latin America is about to reap ageneration of demographic dividend thanks to plunging fertility rates, which in Brazil, Chile and Mexico are below the replacement rate of 2.1.  From 2000 to 2020, the percentage of working age Latin Americans (16-65) is projected to rise from 42 to 53 percent. That will deliver an economic boost [...]

©iStockphoto.com/P_Wei

Corruption is growing (again) in Latin America

Latin America has achieved great things over the last decade: improved income distribution, less poverty, more home ownership, higher literacy, and a more robust democracy, among them. Corruption, on the other hand, has worsened. Comparing 2011 Transparency International Corruption index metrics with those of a decade earlier reveals a startling trend of increased corruption across [...]

Credit is King

Credit is King

The expansion of credit has dramatically altered the consumer landscape in Latin America over the last decade. Going back a bit further, in 1990, fewer than 3 percent of Latin American households had a credit card.  By 2020, that figure will grow to 25 percent.  In Brazil, where credit has grown even more radically, consumer [...]

Searching for El Silicon Valley of Latin America

Searching for El Silicon Valley of Latin America

Politicians across the globe are fond of touting their nation’s high-tech cluster as the next Silicon Valley.  Few examples around the world, however, can stack up to the California original.  None on that short-list can be found in Latin America. Modern Latin America can boast several fields of excellence but innovation is not one of them.  [...]

© iStockphoto.com/alashi

Time for a little austerity in Latin America

Giving too much money to politicians is like feeding candy to children: it always leads to bad behavior.  Latin America is no exception.  The decade-long economic boom driven by high commodity prices and cheap capital has been good to Latin American governments and consumers alike.  In 2009, when the global financial crisis struck, households and [...]

Why Multi-Latinas Are Winning

Why Multi-Latinas Are Winning

In 1999, less than half of the largest 500 companies in Latin America were homegrown. By 2007, Latin American firms commanded three out of every four positions in the regional top 500. Today, multi-Latinas, armed with cash, are stepping out of their comfort zone and taking control of debt-laden firms in Europe and the United [...]

The Contrarian: Go South, Joven

The Contrarian: Go South, Joven

Twenty   years ago, when I first headed south to Mexico to launch my Latin American career, I filled my last tank of U.S. gasoline outside of El Paso, Texas. When the station manager, an old Tejano, learned I was moving to Mexico, he quipped, “You’re going the wrong way, man. They’re all moving here.” How [...]

The Contrarian: Reforms the key to improve competitiveness in Mexico

The World Economic Forum’s annual competitiveness ranking is the global beauty pageant for competing nations.  Mexico, the darling of emerging markets in the 1990s, had gradually slipped into the “ugly duckling” range of nations, ranking No. 66 by 2010.  But Mexico got a bit of a face lift in September 2011, rising eight positions to [...]

The Contrarian: Does Europe Matter Anymore?

The Contrarian: Does Europe Matter Anymore?

How might Latin America fare in such a gloomy environment?  Surprisingly well thanks to its own fiscal and monetary discipline and an historic pattern of declining European trade and investment links. Many Latin Americans are proud of their European heritage and go to great lengths to sustain their cultural links to the old continent.  Fortunately [...]

The Contrarian: Protectionism returns to South America

The Contrarian: Protectionism returns to South America

Once sheepish about protecting select industries, South American governments are growing bolder in

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The Contrarian: The Cost of Living Dangerously

Addressing the Global Travel & Tourism Summit in Las Vegas in May of this year, Mexican President Calderon quipped: “I saw thousands of spring-breakers in Mexico having fun. My understanding is the only shots they received were tequila shots — a lot of them.”