After a hopeful start to the year, Latin America's economic progress has not quite hit the pace that had been expected.
In a July 16 post on its official blog, the International Monetary Fund reduced its projection for expansion of the region's gross domestic product during 2018 - lowering the figure to 1.6 percent for this year from a projection of 1.9 percent earlier in 2018. (Numbers for 2019's expected GDP growth remained unchanged at 2.6 percent.)
Political transitions both definite and forthcoming within Latin America's biggest economies had a major effect on the IMF's adjustment. In Mexico, where leftist-populist Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador just won the presidency in a virtual landslide victory, opinions regarding how he will affect the economy vary among business leaders, though his campaign mandate against political and corporate corruption earned him massive support from middle- and working-class Mexicans. The Mexico GDP growth projection remained steady at 2.3 percent.
By contrast, the political climate of Brazil is characterized by internecine squabbling between political parties and clouded by numerous corruption scandals. According to Reuters, former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva - hugely popular among the people but imprisoned for bribery - still reportedly plans to run in the October election. Accordingly, the IMF reduced Brazil's 2018 GDP growth projection from 1.9 to 1.8 percent.