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By Beth Bandy


Emerging markets demand careful attention to data to identify opportunity and reduce risk. Sources of statistics for Latin America are put at your fingertips by a number of organisations.


These days, news stories from Latin America are easy to find in the global business media.  Mexico is leading the G20 association of global economic powers this year. Brazil – one of the prominent emerging market "BRIC" nations – is growing rapidly. Meanwhile, neighbouring Argentina recently made headlines by nationalizing a Spanish-owned oil company.

With these events as a backdrop, researchers have many reasons to look for more business and financial information about the region. The trick is figuring out how to start such projects. One way is to find general financial statistics that can serve as background material for further research. Here are some key sources for such statistics about Latin America.

Researchers seeking general financial data about Latin American countries can find many useful data sets on the websites of organizations such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).

The IMF has an "e-library" that includes a section dedicated to economic data from countries around the world. Researchers can access these details for Latin American countries in different ways on this site. One option is to select a particular country to see "pre-defined data reports" previously prepared by the IMF about that location.

Alternatively, researchers can create their own reports by searching a wide range of IMF data sets. These customised reports can cover one country or multiple countries, depending on the researcher's objectives and chosen data sets.

On the "Statistics and Databases" portion of the IDB website, researchers can find links to seven separate databases about the region. One of these tools, the Latin American and Caribbean Macro Watch database, is particularly useful for finding economic data.
Academic institutions also can be useful sources of financial information about Latin America.

While many such institutions provide links to external websites and private vendor databases, the Montevideo-Oxford Latin American Economic History Database is the result of a collaboration between Uruguay's Universidad de la Republica and Oxford University. This database, which is accessible for free, is housed on an Oxford website. It currently allows researchers to find data about finance and industry (among other topics) for Latin American countries from the late 1800s through 2010.

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Beth Bandy, Principal of International Fundraising Intelligence LLC, connects charitable organizations with donors around the world through prospect research, training, and consulting. She is the author of China: A Guide for Prospect Researchers, and teaches courses in international research techniques. She regularly writes about international wealth and philanthropy issues on her blog. On Twitter, she is @BethMBandy.

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