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Latin America: economic sectors hit by COVID-19, based on GDP share

According to a recent study, the most affected sectors by the coronavirus pandemic in Latin America would be wholesale and retail trade as well as services in general, such as tourism, foodservice, transport, and communications. As of 2020, this group of most affected sectors is forecasted to represent more than 16 percent of Brazil’s gross domestic product (GDP). Among the countries shown in this graph, Brazil is the Latin American nation where the sectors expected to be moderately affected by the COVID-19 outbreak could represent the highest contribution to GDP (75.8 percent).

Which Latin American economies will be most hit by the COVID-19 pandemic?

In 2020, the economic sectors most affected by the coronavirus pandemic - wholesale and retail, hotels and restaurants, transport and services in general - were forecasted to account for 35.5 percent of Panama’s GDP. In addition, the moderately and most affected economic segments are estimated to contribute the most to Panama’s GDP (a combined 97.6 percent) than any other country in this region. A similar scenario is projected in Mexico, where the sectors that will least suffer the negative effects of this pandemic would account for only 3.4 percent of GDP.

Will the coronavirus pandemic put a stop to economic growth in Latin America?

Even though it is hard to predict how severe the economic crisis spawned by COVID-19 will be in each country, recent forecasts show that economic growth perspectives have changed dramatically since the outbreak. For instance, Peru, the sixth largest economy in Latin America based on total GPD, was set to grow around three percent in 2020 before the outbreak and is now expected to fall under recession after the pandemic. In turn, Argentina’s GDP was expected to slightly shrink in 2020, according to December 2019 estimates, and the forecast was adjusted to -7.3 percent in June 2020.

Economic sectors most affected by the coronavirus pandemic in selected countries in Latin America as of 2020, based on contribution to GDP

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Release date

April 2020



Survey time period


Special properties

Forecasts based on real GDP at 2019 prices

Supplementary notes

According to the source, the economic sectors are grouped as follows:

* Most affected: wholesale and retail, repair of goods, hotels and restaurants, transport, storage and communications, services in general.
** Moderately affected: mining and quarrying, manufacturing, electricity, gas and water supply, construction, financial intermediation, real estate, business and rental services, civil service, social and personal services.
*** Least affected: agriculture, livestock, hunting, forestry and fishing.

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Statistics on "Coronavirus (COVID-19) in Latin America"

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