Which Latin American Countries Enjoyed the Sharpest GDP Growth In 2022?

Panama and Colombia led the economic growth in the region last year, with Venezuela also seeing a recovery, although data from the latter country are less reliable

The Panamanian economy led economic growth in Latin America in 2022, recovering to pre-pandemic levels.
March 29, 2023 | 06:02 PM

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Bloomberg Línea — The economies of Latin America, like the world economy as a whole, slowed abruptly in 2020, as a result of the quarantines imposed by countries to curb the coronavirus, and in 2021 they managed to recover a good part of the setback, while in 2022 they enjoyed generalized growth, although in many cases it is still difficult for the economies to recover the ground lost due to the pandemic.

Regarding the last year, the most outstanding economic expansion was in Panama (with 10.8% GDP growth) and Colombia (10.5%), in addition to Venezuela (which saw growth of 13.3%, according to private measurements), although in the latter case it is difficult to obtain credible figures and which, in addition, is a recovery within the framework of a phenomenal crisis that the country has been undergoing.

Ecuador is also expected to show significant growth once the consolidated data is released. At the other extreme, the country that grew the least was Paraguay, which barely maintained the previous year’s level.

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What happened in the region’s largest economies?

  • In Brazil, the main economic power in Latin America, the GDP expanded 2.9% in 2022, according to data already consolidated by the country’s statistics agency. In 2021, Brazilian GDP had grown 4.6%, after collapsing 3.9% in 2020.
  • In Mexico, the region’s second-largest economy, GDP grew 3% in 2022, also according to official data already closed. In 2021 Mexico had grown 4.7%, after falling 8% in 2020.
  • In Argentina (Latin America’s third-largest economy), GDP grew 5.2% in 2022. In 2020 it had collapsed 9.8% and in 2021 rebounded 10.4%.
  • In Colombia, the fourth-largest economy, GDP saw a 7.5% jump in 2022. In 2020, it had suffered a 7% contraction, and in 2021 recovered 10.7%.
  • Meanwhile, in Chile, the fifth-largest economy in Latin America, GDP grew by 2.4% in 2022. In 2020 it had contracted 6% and in 2022 it had a jump of 11.7%.

Panama leads the region

Panama’s economy grew 10.8% in 2022 and led the region’s increases.


In the case of Venezuela, in the absence of verifiable figures, el Observatorio de Finanzas (a private organization that does not represent the regime of President Nicolás Maduro) estimated an expansion of 13.3% last year.

Ecuador saw growth of 3% in 2022. There are no consolidated figures yet, but the number is derived from the economic activity indicator, which is published on a monthly basis.

For its part, Uruguay had a GDP expansion of 4.9% in 2022, at the same rate as the Dominican Republic, according to figures from the latter country’s central bank.


Honduras’ growth was estimated to be 4.2% in 2022, according to the economic activity indicator for the last quarter.

In Guatemala, GDP growth was estimated to be 4% in 2022, according to the economic activity indicator for the last quarter).

In Nicaragua, economic growth in 2022 was 3.8%, according to the country’s central bank.

Peru’s economy grew 2.7% in 2022.


El Salvador’s economy advanced 2.6% in 2022, according to the country’s central bank.

In the case of Cuba, government estimates pointed to a 2% increase in GDP over 2021.

Paraguay showed the slowest growth in the entire region, which barely advanced 0.1%, although previous estimates showed a contraction.

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