GLOBAL ECONOMY

Negative growth expected in 2016 for Latin America and Caribbean, IMF says

People wait in a line outside a supermarket in Caracas, Venezuela, to buy price regulated toilet paper made available for sale by the government, Friday, Jan. 22, 2016. In a note published Friday, the International Monetary Fund Western Hemisphere Director Alejandro Werner said inflation would more than double in the economically struggling South American country in 2016, reaching 720 percent. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)

People wait in a line outside a supermarket in Caracas, Venezuela, to buy price regulated toilet paper made available for sale by the government, Friday, Jan. 22, 2016. In a note published Friday, the International Monetary Fund Western Hemisphere Director Alejandro Werner said inflation would more than double in the economically struggling South American country in 2016, reaching 720 percent. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)

The International Monetary Fund is forecasting that the economies of Latin America and the Caribbean will maintain this year the same overall 0.3 percent negative growth seen in 2015.

Alejandro Werner is the IMF's chief economist for Latin America. He says it will be the first time the region has seen two consecutive years of economic contraction since the external debt crisis of 1982-83, which gave rise to the so-called lost decade.

Werner said Friday the negative outlook is based on economic difficulties in Argentina, Brazil, Ecuador and Venezuela, while most other countries in the region should post moderate growth.

He said falling commodities prices have resulted in some $200 billion in losses for export earnings in Latin America's seven leading economies.

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