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United Nations' ECLAC bumps up 2017 LatAm growth forecast to 1.2%

The United Nations' Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, or ECLAC, expects GDP in the region to grow 1.2% on average in 2017, slightly higher than its previous 1.1% estimate.

For 2018, the group forecasts a 2.2% average GDP growth for the region, the highest observed since 2013, ECLAC said in an Oct. 12 statement.

Growth dynamics will differ between countries and subregions, with Central American economies taking the helm with an expected growth rate of 3.4% this year and 3.5% for 2018.

Meanwhile, the South American region should grow by 0.7% this year after two years of contraction, before expanding 2% next year.

Economic activity in the Caribbean will grow the least among the subregions, with a 0.3% growth forecast for the year due to the damage caused by hurricanes Irma and Maria in some countries in the island group. However, growth is expected to rebound to 1.9% in 2018 due to reconstruction efforts and a more dynamic global market in terms of growth and trade.

According to ECLAC, investment-friendly policies will be vital to support growth in the region, as these will help in reducing the effects of external shocks and avoiding medium- and long-term impacts on the countries' economic performance.