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SANTIAGO: Latin American trade should rise 25% in 2021, due mostly to higher commodity prices, although future performance depends on the evolution of the corona virus pandemic and its impact the global economy, a United Nations commission said on Tuesday.

The Santiago-based U.N. Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) said that for full-year 2021 it projects a year-on-year rebound of 25% in the value of regional exports of goods, not including services, driven by the 17% rise in export prices and an 8% expansion of volume.

The value of imports would increase by 32%, it said, as a result of a 20% increase in volume and 12% rise in prices. “The region as a whole is projected to record a $24 billion surplus in its trade in goods in 2021,” the Commission said in the report. “This is lower than in 2020, which is mainly explained by the considerable recovery in import volumes.”

The report said a contraction in world trade in goods due to the pandemic in 2020 was the first since the global financial crisis in 2009. The recovery in regional trade is supported by the increase in the prices of several of its main exports, including oil, copper and grains. Higher demand from China, the United States and Europe is also a factor, plus a recovery of economic activity in the ECLAC region itself.

Oil exporting countries should see a 15% improvement in trade this year, the Commission said, followed by exporters of agro-industrial products, including Argentina and Paraguay, and metals exporters Chile and Peru.

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