Latin America will benefit from having “more firepower” than other regions, as strong international reserves are already helping those countries face commodity price collapses, said Lisa Schineller, Standard & Poor’s economist.
BNAmericas (subs. required) reports that Schineller estimates Latin America’s central banks having roughly $800 billion in international reserves by the end of 2012. The figure is five times higher than what they had in 2002.
From Mexico south, the expert believes most countries are in a good place to face commodity price sharp fluctuations because their external debt and financing needs are significantly lower than a decade ago.
Brazil, Latin America’s largest economy, increased gold reserves for a third month in November last year to double the country’s holdings since August, reaching levels not seen in 12 years.
The move came on the back central banks from Russia to Belarus and South Korea adding the precious metal to diversify their assets by the end of 2012.
In addition to Brazil, others nations including Colombia, Mexico, Argentina and Paraguay have recently been adding to their bullion holdings.
S&P predicts that Latin America will grow at a pace close to 3.5% this year.