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The Miami Herald, Dec.15, 2008

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GLOBALIZATION

LATAM COUNTRIES MORE CONNECTED

Most Latin American countries increased their roles in the world economy through trade, foreign investment, Internet penetration and other measures in 2007, according to a new report released by Miami-based Latin Business Chronicle.

In the Latin Globalization Index, which analyzed 18 countries, Panama was ranked as the most globalized nation in the region, followed by Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Chile and Paraguay. Latin America's two largest economies, Brazil and Mexico, were ranked last and in 10th place, respectively, but both improved from last year's ratings.

The globalization index uses six elements to measure a county's globalization level: exports, imports, foreign direct investment, tourism receipts, remittances and Internet penetration. All factors except Internet penetration are calculated as a percent of Gross Domestic Product.

Despite its size, Brazil ranked lower then other nations in the globalization index -- mainly because factors like exports and imports are less importantrelative to its large internal economy.

Overall, 13 of the 18 countries studied improved their ratings from the previous year while five -- Bolivia, Honduras, Venezuela, Ecuador and Paraguay -- slipped in their rankings.

The index also measures the biggest winners and losers in foreign direct investment. Those showing the best gains in foreign investment were Panama, Chile, El Salvador, Costa Rica and Honduras.

The biggest losers were Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, Paraguay and Guatemala.

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