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Commodities to Power Emerging Markets Higher

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Copper will be a key driver.

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Countries in Latin America recognize that their economic growth is tied to their natural resources. For this reason, many have spent the last decade investing in the ability to extract these resources and transport them internationally.

In Panama, the government is investing in such infrastructure at an astonishing rate – increasing spending by 41% year over year from 2010 to 2011. This spending is going to projects such as the development of mines and mining equipment, roads to transport goods, and ports to ship them. But a large part of it is going to the Panama Canal expansion project. Recognizing that the Panama Canal would soon not be able to handle demand, in 2006, Panama began a project to expand the canal to accommodate future traffic. This project will allow larger ships to use the canal and increase revenues to Panama. When the project is completed (estimated to be in 2014), the canal will be able to handle double its current capacity. Panama asserts that the expansion of the canal will by itself generate enough wealth to transform Panama into a first world country while reducing national poverty levels from over 30% to below 8%.

In addition to the benefits to Panama, the canal expansion is extremely important for the rest of Latin America as it will make the shipment of goods easier for these countries and allow them greater access to international trade. In addition to this project, Panama is home to two of the world's largest underdeveloped copper deposits, which are in the process of being developed into mines.
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