SOUTH AMERICA (South America is predicted to see zero or negative GDP growth for the 1st Q of 2021):
COVID-19 in South America will be prevalent for at least the next 6 months, it will gradually start to fade into the background in the 2nd half of 2021.
South American construction activity & projects have for the most part gradually started to resume again. Peru, Ecuador, Guyana, Uruguay, Venezuela & Paraguay have unfortunately been severely impacted by the pandemic. In Brazil, construction work for the most part did not stop, however each region dealt with the crisis in different ways. Brazil has been severely hindered by COVID-19 virus, with close to 7 million confirmed cases & more than 185,000 deaths.
Chile, is the first country in South America to begin vaccinating its citizens against COVID-19. Chile is planning to inoculate 75% of Chile’s 20 million citizens by July of 2021. Argentina is set to use Russia’s Sputnik COVID-19 vaccine in 1st Q of 2021. Brazil has set a goal of vaccinating up to 50 million citizens (approx. 25% of its population) in the 1st half of 2021, with the remaining citizens getting the “jab” by years end.
COVID-19’s impact on South America is expected to be much worse than the 2008 economic / financial crisis, more than 40% of the population of South America live in extreme poverty and have limited access to medical assistance.
South America is not out of the woods yet, it has numerous unsafe cities and towns that will see the widespread confirmed cases COVID-19 virus in the coming months. Look for South America’s construction sector to struggle for the 1st Q of 2021. The COVID-19 virus will reduce future CAPEX spending for the foreseeable future, conceivably going well into 2021 and beyond. Many countries in South America lack intensive care units / isolation wards or adequate numbers of trained specialist healthcare workers & advanced medical equipment & supplies to fight off the pandemic.
The jury is still out on the global economic impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic. Possibly, six months from now we will have a clearer understanding of how we get past this event & how it impacts the construction sectors of all the South American countries.