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International Currency Reserves of LatAm Nations per Capita

Wonk out!
  • Countries that have lots of currency reserves are stronger, macroeconomically speaking. Check
  • LatAm countries have been squirrelling money away for the last decade, thanks mainly to high commods prices. Check
  • LatAm economies are generally thought to be in good shape because of their macro monetary policies. Check

But on being inspired by this article at AmerciaEconomia this morning that tells how Mexico's International Currency Reserves hit a new all time record this week (U$138.901Bn), your humble scribe got to wondering just which countries in LatAm, (well to be honest South America plus Mexico, I didn't check on the CenAms) have the most reserves per head of population, because it's one thing saying that Brazil has the most cash stored away but it's another thing to know how far that cash would stretch in a pinch. So on checking out all the relevant Central Bank websites (most of which have the intl reserve number dated to the week) and then the good old handy-dandy CIA World Factbook for the latest population estimates (most good to July 2011, so that works), here's the chart and the table that got done Chez Otto:

So it turns out that Uruguay is in the best shape of all on this metric, followed by Chile, Brazil and Peru. Then come five countries all in reasonably good shape, all having over U$1000 per capita in reserves. Paraguay is a bit marginal but OK I suppose, with the only weak link in the whole region being Ecuador.

Here's the table that generated the above chart.