• Central bank governor pledges continued support for region
  • Two $10 billion LatAm investment funds established by China

People’s Bank of China Governor Zhou Xiaochuan expressed confidence that Latin American countries can weather the global economic slowdown this year, according to a statement posted Sunday at the annual meeting of the Inter-American Development Bank.

“Overall economic growth in the region moderated” in 2015, Zhou said in the three-page statement. “Looking forward, although challenges and uncertainties still exist, we are confident that, as a region full of growth potential, the LAC (Latin American and Caribbean) countries have the capacity to handle challenges and secure sustainable economic growth.”

Already Latin America’s second-largest trading partner, China set a 10-year goal in 2014 of increasing annual trade volume to $500 billion and making direct investments of $250 billion. The world’s second-largest economy is the leading trade partner for Brazil and Chile, he said.

“The LAC has become an important destination for China’s outbound direct investment,” Zhou said.

China has established several investment funds for Latin America, including two $10 billion funds that recently began operating.

“We expect that these funds will provide financial support to local development by participating in cooperative projects in various forms including loan and equity investments,” Zhou said in the statement, which was posted on the last day of the bank’s annual meeting in Nassau, Bahamas.

The bank said on Sunday in its annual economic outlook that the region will post a 0.3 percent contraction this year and grow by just 1.5 percent through 2018.

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