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April 8, 2014

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EXCLUSIVE Latin America-Europe trade shifts
Region now imports more than it sends back

In 2012, Europe posted a trade surplus with Latin America for the first time in decades - a trend that continued in 2013 according to the latest data from Latin Business Chronicle. LBC’s data shows that bilateral trade between the two regions reached $293 billion last year - 5.5 percent less than in 2012, with the largest share of Europe's trade with the region being for Brazil, at $100 billion.

Peru to be top Latin American economy in 2014: IMF
Andean country's economy seen growing 5.5 percent this year

Peru is expected to be the fastest growing economy in Latin America this year, according to the International Monetary Fund's world economic outlook report. The Andean country will grow 5.5 percent in 2014, the report says, while next year it is expected to grow up to 7.3 percent. Peru will have the second lowest inflation rate in the region after Colombia, with 2.5 percent, Andina reports.

Scotiabank focused on Latin America growth
Toronto-based shifts attention away from Asia

Canada's Scotiabank is planning to drive expansion in four Latin American countries as it shifts away from Asia, CEO Brian Porter said. The Toronto-based bank will seek growth in  Peru, Colombia, Mexico and Chile, where Porter sees strong economic fundamentals and sound regulatory systems, Reuters reports.

Panama has historic office construction boom
Country has one of highest foreign investment rates in region

Panama City is enjoying an office building boom that is being driven by several economic factors, according to a recent report by Jones Lang LaSalle. The Central American country's overall business-friendly legal environment, its menu of tax, immigration and labor incentives, a dollarized economy, strong banking and logistics sectors, relatively low crime, and expanding infrastructure have all contributed to its office construction boom, the World Property Channel reports.

Cemex sees opportunities after Holcim-Lafarge merger
Mexican cement maker is eyeing Colombia and Philippines

Mexican cement firm Cemex sees opportunities to snap up divested assets after Switzerland's Holcim and France's Lafarge unveiled a deal to create the world's largest cement maker on Monday. The company said markets such as Philippines and Colombia have shown fast growth and present investment opportunities. However, its heavy debt will prevent it from making any big buys soon, Inter Aksyon reports.

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