BY CHRONICLE STAFF
Latin America set a new record in trade last year - reaching an estimated $2.0 trillion, an increase of 20.3 percent from 2007, according to a Latin Business Chronicle analysis of new data from the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC).
The strong increase in exports helped boost international reserves to $508.5 billion last year just as the region faces a slowdown in exports and economic growth this year.
TRADE GROWS, SURPLUS FALLS
Latin America's total exports of goods and services grew by 18.3 percent last year to $1.0 trillion, while imports increased by 22.4 percent to $1.0 trillion. However, the trade surplus fell by 61.9 percent to $16.0 billion.
Exports of goods grew by 18.2 percent to $901.9 billion, while exports of services increased by 18.5 percent to $116.3 billion. On the import side, goods grew by 22.8 percent to $857.3 billion, while services increased by 20.2 percent to $144.9 billion.
Brazil led the way in trade growth in real terms. Its exports grew by $45.4 billion, which is more than Colombia's total exports last year. Brazilian imports, meanwhile, increased by $65.2 billion. That's more than Venezuela's imports and the equivalent of 95 percent of Argentina's imports last year.
Measured in percentage growth, Paraguay led the way in export growth, followed by Venezuela and Bolivia, while Peru
Keywords: ALBA, Andean Community, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, CAFTA, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Peru, Venezuela