Latin America isn’t booming, but that could change


The writer, Morgan Stanley Investment Management’s chief global strategist, is author of ‘The Ten Rules of Successful Nations’

For all the Marquezian dramas of civil and class war, colonialism and corruption that have wracked Latin America, history shows that its economic fate rises and falls with just one thing: the prices of oil, iron ore, copper and other commodities.

Now, despite a recent dip, commodity prices are up sharply since early last year, but Latin economies are not. They are expected to shrink by 1 per cent this quarter as the global economy expands by 5 per cent. Plot commodity prices against Latin American GDP growth and lines that moved together for decades have suddenly parted ways. Why? The pandemic and populism.

Seven of the world’s 10 highest Covid-19 death rates are in Latin America. The toll is fuelling support for anti-establishment politicians in an unusually busy campaign period, with 11 Latin countries…

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