Economic environment in 2017
GDP growth in Latin America, although nowhere near the estimated 3.5% global growth rate for 2017, turned slightly positive after an overall contraction in 2016. Increased oil and commodity prices, improved private consumption and the escape from recession by the two larger players, Brazil and Argentina, have induced a modest growth rate for the region in 2017.
Long strikes in the Chilean mines and flood damage in Peru limited the economic expansion in the first half of the year. Political and economic uncertainty due to presidential elections (Ecuador, Chile) and the impact of widespread corruption cases on public infrastructure spending also hampered a real rebound. In Venezuela, the political, economic, and humanitarian crisis worsened further.
In Latin America, Bekaert manufactures an extensive product portfolio to serve construction, mining, agriculture and a wide range of industrial and consumer markets across the region. Bekaert has wholly owned and majority owned subsidiaries in Costa Rica, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, Peru, Chile and Brazil and also runs joint ventures in Brazil in a 45/55 partnership with ArcelorMittal.
Bekaert’s activities in Latin America go back to 1950. Today, they represent almost 30% of combined sales.