China-Latin America Economic Relations in 2013

˙ China & Latin America

The Dialogue is pleased to share the latest report on China and Latin America from Boston University’s Global Economic Governance Initiative. The “2013 China-Latin America Economic Bulletin,” by Rebecca Ray and Kevin Gallagher, identifies key trends and major developments in the China-Latin America economic relationship over the past year. A few highlights:

  • Two major trends – China’s slowing growth and the decline in global commodity prices – limited advances in the trade and investment relationship in 2013. Chinese trade and investment in Latin America continued to grow, but rates have tapered somewhat in association with ongoing shifts in China’s economy.
  • Data from the Inter-American Dialogue’s finance database showed high concentrations of Chinese lending in specific sectors and countries. Venezuela, Argentina and Brazil were major destinations for capital, with most directed toward the transportation, infrastructure and energy sectors.
  • The vast majority of Latin America’s exports to China are still natural resources, especially copper, iron ore and soy. Growth in the total value of trade has declined along with falling commodity prices, leading to trade deficits with China in certain countries.
  • 2013 was a big year for energy in Latin America, with the oil and gas sector accounting for nearly 70 percent of all investment inflows. The most notable Chinese deals were CNPC’s purchase of a 40 percent stake in Repsol Brazil and CNOOC’s acquisition of a 50 percent share in Argentina’s Bridas Corporation. For more on the energy relationship, see our China-Latin America Energy Workshop report.