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Business climate improves in Argentina, Chile, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay

Staff writer |
The business climate in several Latin American countries improved in January 2015, according to the quarterly Business Climate Index (BCI) by the Getulio Vargas Foundation of Brazil (FGV) and the Institute of Economic Research of the University of Munich.

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Peru registered the best result with 131 points, compared with 116 last October. Meanwhile, Paraguay obtained 125 points, and Uruguay 100 points. Argentina has also rebounded, despite the recession, partly as a result of the loans from China for the construction of infrastructure projects.

Chile increased by 10 points, climbing from eighth to sixth place in the ranking. The country reached 85 points, compared to 75 in November's survey.

In any case, despite the improvement in the individual BCI of these nations, the average for Latin America recorded a decline, dropping from 80 points last October down to 75, the worst figure in six years. The region had 95 points in January 2014, while the average of the last 10 years stands at 101 points.

This drop is attributed to the declining performance of Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador and Mexico. "In the first three countries, this may mainly be the result of the fall in oil prices," says the report.

Latin America's drop contrasted with the slight improvement for the world as a whole, from 105 points in October to 106 points in January, driven by a better environment in both the U.S. and the European Union, where the index jumped from 104 points to 113 points in three months, as well as Japan.

In this regard, Spain's business climate is perceived to be gradually improving. Looking at port traffic data in 2014, a 5.12% growth has been registered in the volume of goods shipped, with a total of 482,030,313 tonnes handled in Spanish ports.

The most profitable niche is that of general merchandise, which expanded by 2.1%, reaching 217.7 million tonnes; 46.5% of the total volume. Of this, 71% was shipped in 14.2 million containers, which is the greatest number of containers (measured in TEUs) ever handled by all Spanish ports, and with a 2.2% increase compared to the previous year.

Portugal is also expected to grow in 2015, so there will surely be opportunities to do business and invest.

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