Monetary Policy and Macroeconomic Stabilization in Latin America

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Latin America is a very important region of the globe, which has been buffeted by successive waves of economic instability within the last decades. These waves have caused several episodes of hyperinflation or near hyperinflation, and several currency and financial crises, which, in certain moments, have even spilled over and affected other emerging markets. This has resulted in huge costs in terms of lost potential growth, and, as is inevitable, the markets most affected by this have been the least capable of defending themselves. In a region plagued by still considerable rates of social exclusion, with some of the highest rates of income concentration in the whole globe, the human costs of these crises have been very substantial. Starting in the early 1990s, the slow implementation of reforms, plus the resumption of more sustained growth-to a substantial degree linked to the increase in commodity prices, especially since the early 2000s-seems to have resulted in a more stable situation. Initially, in early reformers like Chile, later in the larger economies of the region, like Brazil and Mexico, a consensus- embraced by both sides of the political spectrum-towards integration in global markets, both in their trade and financial components, floating exchange rates, independent monetary authorities, and sustainable fiscal policies has emerged.