Latin America 2013: A Look Ahead

Latin America is poised for strong economic growth next year, according to the UN’s Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean. In a recent report, the organization forecast growth projection for Latin America and the Caribbean at 3.8 percent, up from 3.1 percent in 2012.

On trips south, I see the energy in the streets, in bustling restaurants and in boardrooms. I recently met with a journalist from Brasil Economico to talk about shares from Latin America. The demand from American investors for shares of companies from region has been increasing. In 2012, there were five new listings from Latin America in our markets, the best performance in five years.

One example is Grupo Financiero Santander Mexico, S.A.B. de C.V. (Santander Mexico), a leading financial services holding company in Mexico. It opened for trading in September on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol “BSMX” after an initial public offering of its American depositary shares. It was the second largest IPO in the US in 2012. Others include Peru’s Cementos Pacasmayo, which was very well received by the market; Cencosud, a Chilean company that operates in Brazil, Argentina, Peru and Colombia and most recently BrasilAgro, an agricultural business based in São Paulo.

Why is Latin America attracting the interest of investors? It is growing at a nice clip. Investors are seeking to diversify their portfolios and, as they look for new opportunities, it makes sense to buy products from these countries.

We’re currently working with several companies that are considering a listing or an IPO including those from Mexico, Colombia, Peru, Brazil and Jamaica. When we look at industries, we’re looking at the ones that are new to the American market, that didn’t have penetration, such as technology, consumer goods, infrastructure and retail. The American market is dominated by oil and gas companies, the financial sector and heavy industry, such as steel and mining.

For more details on the region’s outlook, check out Brasil Economico.