The economy of Latin America, our region of operations, encountered significant headwinds in 2015, with many of its economies facing growth divergence throughout the year. The economies of Argentina, Brazil and Venezuela—the largest members of the Mercosur bloc— experienced meager economic growth or remained in recession. On the other side of the continent, Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru—which make up the Pacific Alliance— experienced some slow growth below their potential due to the decline in commodity prices, the deceleration in China, and the global financial volatility.
Despite this economic reality, LAAD achieved very good operational results with record profitability for the fiscal year ended October 31, 2015. Throughout the year, LAAD disbursed a record-setting US$193.2 million to 291 projects in 14 countries, exceeding last year’s disbursement results by 5.5%. The projects financed by LAAD in 2015 created over 9,000 new jobs and will generate an additional US$159 million per year in much needed foreign currency for the region. Projects involving coffee and soybeans represented 15.17% and 12.35%, respectively, of the total disbursed amount; bananas were 10.5%; and cattle, grapes and flowers were 15.71%. The remaining percentage was constituted by various other products. As a result, LAAD’s agribusiness loan portfolio grew by 11.8% on a year-to-year basis, reaching almost US$570 million at the end of Fiscal Year 2015.