CARACAS, Venezuela, Oct. 13 (UPI) -- South America's combined gross domestic product is expected to decrease 2.2 percent in 2016, mainly due to Venezuela's economic crisis in which an 8 percent contraction is projected.
The United Nation's Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean reports that, overall, the Latin American and Caribbean GPD is expected to decrease 0.9 percent in 2016.
Of the 33 countries reported in ECLAC's projections, just Argentina, Brazil, Ecuador, Venezuela, Trinidad and Tobago, and Suriname, which -- at 4 percent -- will have the second-largest shrink in GDP following Venezuela, are expected to see GPD decreases in 2016.
"In view of the current economic downturn, ECLAC again affirms that the region needs a progressive structural change with an environmental big push to drive development based on equality and environmental sustainability," ECLAC said in a statement. "Public and private investment policies need to be coordinated across different areas to reshape patterns of production, consumption and energy, based on learning and innovation."
ECLAC projects the Latin American and Caribbean combined GPD will see a 1.5 percent increase in 2017. Venezuela's GDP is the only one in the region expected to decrease in 2017, at 4 percent.
The countries predicted to see the most economic growth are the Dominican Republic, Panama and the island nation of Saint Kitts and Nevis, which will see GDP increases of 6.5, 5.4 and 4.7, respectively.