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LatinNews Daily - 29 March 2021

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In brief: Paraguay’s economy sees small contraction in 2020

* Paraguay’s central bank (BCP) has published figures showing that the country’s GDP contracted by 0.6% in 2020, a smaller contraction than the expected -1%. This is Paraguay’s second year of recession after its economy contracted by 0.4% in 2019, but it is by far the best performance of any South American economy in a year marked by the effects of the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic. The construction and agricultural sectors saw the strongest performance; construction grew by 12.5%, including an 18.5% year-on-year increase in the fourth quarter, and agriculture grew by 9.1%, despite a 3.8% decline in Q4. The cattle, forestry, fishing and mining sector also saw an uptick in 2020, growing by 2%. On the other hand, the sectors most affected by the pandemic restrictions suffered, such as the services sector which shrank 3.3%. Paraguay’s economy grew 1% year-on-year in Q4 last year, and the central bank currently predicts 4% GDP growth for 2021.