Economic Developments - May 2019

Analyses of regional statistics revealed that foreign remittances to LAC increased in 2018 over 2017 by 10.2 percent to $85 billion. The highest recipient by far was Mexico ($33 billion, followed by Guatemala with $9.29 billion). Remittances are a vital input for LAC economies, constituting up to 39 percent of the GDP of Haiti at $3.34 billion, and 20 percent for Honduras at $4.75 billion. Venezuela’s battered economy also got a vital $3.4 billion. India ranked highest globally with $80 billion, followed by China with $67 billion.

The World Bank estimates that Venezuela’s GDP fell by 17.7 percent in 2018 and is expected to fall a further 25 percent in 2019. The cumulative GDP contraction since 2013, when President Maduro took over, would be 60 percent. Inflation by end 2019 would be 10 million percent, the same figure predicted by the IMF. The IMF meanwhile is reported to have suspended the Maduro government’s access to $400 million in Special Drawing Rights, in view of Maduro’s questionable legitimacy. The regime has low reserves, mainly $9 billion in gold which is difficult to liquidate because of the financial sanctions imposed by western countries.

May 6, 2019

 

 

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About the Author

Ambassador Deepak Bhojwani joined the Indian Foreign Service (IFS) in 1978. He retired in February 2012. During his career, he was accredited as Ambassador in seven Latin American countries, resident in Colombia, Venezuela and Cuba, concurrent in Ecuador, Costa Rica, Cuba and the Dominican Republic, and was Consul General in Sao Paulo. He served abroad in three Continents – Asia (Indonesia and Malaysia), Europe (Spain and Czech Republic) and Latin America.

In the Ministry of External Affairs, he served in the Divisions dealing with Administration; West Asia and North Africa; US and Canada; and had a brief stint at the United Nations.

Ambassador Bhojwani also served as Private Secretary to the Prime Minister of India, Mr P.V.Narasimha Rao for two years from 1994 to 1996, and as Special Assistant to the Minister of State for External Affairs and for Science and Technology, Mr K.R.Narayanan, from 1985 till 1988.

He writes extensively on Latin America and its relations with India. He has written a book published in 2015 titled ‘Latin America, the Caribbean and India: Promise and Challenge’.

He is currently a Consultant for Latin America and the Caribbean through his firm LATINDIA (www.latindia.in)

Ambassador Bhojwani also serves as Independent Director on the Board of Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd., one of the largest state oil and gas companies of India.

Since January 2017 he has been Country Manager and Director, Magotteaux Industries Pvt. Ltd.

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