The U.N. Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean reduced its growth projections for the region this year from 3.2 percent to 2.7 percent, citing less economic expansion in Brazil and Mexico than anticipated.

In its Updated Economic Overview of Latin America and the Caribbean 2013, the Santiago-based ECLAC said that the downward revision of the growth forecast was also due to uncertainty in the world economic situation.

Panama is the country in the region that will grow most in 2014 - 7 percent - while at the other extreme the Venezuelan economy will contract by an estimated 0.5 percent.

Brazil and Mexico, the region's two main economies, will grow this year by 2.3 percent and 3 percent, respectively, less than estimated by ECLAC in its December outlook.

ECLAC forecasts growth of 5.5 percent in Bolivia and Peru and a 5 percent expansion for Ecuador, Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic.

On the international level, ECLAC said that while macroeconomic indicators in developed countries, especially the United States, South Korea, Germany and Britain, have rallied, caution persists concerning the status of China, one of Latin America's main trade partners.

In addition, the organization predicts that demand for raw materials, especially minerals and food products, will continue to tighten, something that - combined with the appreciation of currencies among the developed economies - "would cause commodity prices to drop modestly." EFE