Forecasting the South American construction sector is a taxing activity, bearing in mind that there are more than 10 divergent countries that all have different practices and construction related goals. The construction market forecast for each of these countries vacillates on politics of each Government’s economic policies or social needs.
Much of the future growth in South America will be increased by the improving economies and increased government spending on public facilities and infrastructure projects. The South American construction / Infrastructure / Commercial Construction markets will experience moderate growth in 2019, commercial and office related type construction is active throughout South America. Shopping mall(s), apartments, warehouses, water supply / disposal, office developments, housing and light manufacturing facilities have and will continue to be built in major and mid-sized cities in Argentina, Chile, Central America (Panama, El Salvador, Guatemala and Nicaragua) and Colombia, look for this trend to continue in 2019 and beyond. Argentina is experiencing a currency drop that indicates the country is heading into a recession and possible political turmoil going into 2019.
The Brazilian Government is planning to invest more than $60 billion in new infrastructure / transportation projects in the next two years. Brazil, one of the (BRICS- Brazil, Russia, India, China and Russia) has experienced a terrible decade economically. Construction activity in Brazil has been lackluster over the last three to four years, following significant political turmoil and a continuing business downturn. Brazil is currently experiencing a moderate uptick in its construction sector. Unemployment in the Brazilian construction sector is 11% to 13% which is historically very high for Brazil, look for this rate to improve in 2019. The change in leadership will not provide a quick fix of Brazil’s economy and construction sector. Brazil’s GDP is forecast to grow in the 3.6% to 3.9% range in 2019, much better than a year ago. Inflation in Brazil is projected to be in the 3.7% to 4.1% in 2019, a big improvement from a year ago. It would appear that Brazil is set for better days in 2019 and beyond.
The Venezuela economic situation becomes more and more disastrous as we move into 2019, the question is how long can this continue? South America’s construction sectors will continue to experience restrained demand for EPC services. Argentina and Venezuela will continue to find 2019 to be a challenging year; they are both in recession. The other major countries, i.e. Brazil, Colombia, Chile, Ecuador, Peru and the Central American nations will all see positive and restrained GDP growth in 2019, ranging between 2.4% to 3.1%, good but not that great. The recent expansion of the Panama Canal will be a big plus for Central American economies and their construction sectors. Argentina is experiencing a slow adjustment to the new elected government’s policies.