MEXICO CITY - Peru is in the best shape in Latin America to withstand an economic meltdown while Venezuela and Argentina have the weakest defenses, according to an analysis by International Monetary Fund economists.
Brazil and Mexico, the region's two biggest economies, have solid enough public finances to cope with moderate shocks but would benefit from building stronger buffers, a working paper released on Wednesday showed.
Stress tests against scenarios ranging from a one-off financial shock with no economic impact to a repeat of the crisis following the 2008 Lehman Bros collapse showed that although the region as a whole is more resilient than in the past, individual countries would struggle to cope.
Fast-growing Peru emerged as the most shock-proof economy in the region, with a budget surplus and debt worth only about 20 percent of gross domestic product (GDP).
Bolivia, Chile and Paraguay also came in near the top of the scorecard, followed by Colombia, where the government plans to balance the budget by 2014.