There is no doubt that the Chinese economy is losing momentum, and that there will be an impact on Latin America.
However, not all of the countries will suffer equally. Some will have more pain than others.
A look at the numbers shows a clear divergence throughout the region. At the opposite sides of the spectrum are Mexico and Chile.
China accounts for only 1.5 per cent of Mexico's total exports, while it represents 24 per cent of Chile's embarkations.
This should be no surprise, given the competitive position between Mexico and Chile. They both produce manufactured products - particularly for the United States market. At the same time, Chile is the top copper producer in the world. This is a product sorely needed by the Chinese, as they modernise their infrastructure and expand their cities.
Brazil and Peru are next on the list, sending 17 per cent and 14 per cent of their total exports to China. Both countries are large commodity producers.
The top Chinese export products in Brazil are iron ore and soybeans. Indeed, it sends more than 60 per cent of its soybean output to China. Minerals, such as copper, iron ore and precious metals, account for more than half of Peru's exports to the Asian giant. The rest consists of agricultural products.
Argentina and Colombia are towards the bottom rungs of the ladder. China represents only seven per cent and six per cent of their total export markets, respectively.
Yet, these numbers are a bit deceiving because of the variance in aperture across the region. Some of the Latin American economies are more open than others. Therefore, the impact of a slowing Chinese economy will vary.
Mexico, for example, is the most open economy in Latin America, where exports account for 37 per cent of GDP. It is followed by Chile, where exports represent 31 per cent of output. Brazil is at the rear, where they account for only 10 per cent of the nation's income.
The economic slowdown in China will have a major impact on the Chilean economy - Chilean exports to the Asian giant represent 7.5 per cent of GDP - however, they will not have such an impact on Brazil, where they account for only 1.75 per cent of total output.
Likewise, the deceleration in China will have a similar effect on Argentina as on Brazil, due to the fact that Argentine exports represent 19 per cent of national output - almost twice the relative size of Brazil's export sector. Argentine exports to China were almost 1.3 per cent of GDP in 2012. The same goes for Venezuela and Peru. Exports to China from the latter two countries are each three per cent of GDP.
Surprisingly, the relative weights of Chinese exports are also similar in Mexico and Colombia - registering 0.6 per cent and 0.9 per cent of GDP, respectively. The amazing thing about this is that Mexican exports to China are
negligible. However, exports are a much larger part of the Mexico economy than Colombia. They are more than twice as big, in relative terms.
Colombian exports were only 12 per cent of GDP in 2012. Therefore, the real impact of the deceleration in China will be felt in Chile, but it will be muted throughout the rest of the region.
How about the recovery in the US? How will it affect Latin America? There, the impact is also interesting.
Mexico is at the top of the list. Given, that 78 per cent of its exports go to the US and it is a very open economy, the impact of the North American recovery will be felt strongly. Exports to the US account for 29 per cent of GDP. That is why the adage, 'When the US sneezes, Mexico catches pneumonia', is so accurate.
Venezuela is next on the list, with US exports representing 11.5 per cent of GDP. The third position is occupied by Colombia, with exports to the US accounting for almost six per cent of GDP. Peru and Chile are in similar situations, with embarkations to the US being three per cent of GDP.
Brazil and Argentina are roughly one per cent of GDP each.
The US and the two largest members of the Southern Cone are competitors. They do not have many complementary products that would facilitate the interchange of goods. This has always been a bone of contention for the two sides.
Therefore, the impact of the Chinese slowdown will be mainly felt in Chile, while the US recovery will mainly register in Mexico and Colombia.
Nevertheless, the perception of much greater levels of trade between Latin America and China will have a significant impact on the region. Thanks to Jim O'Neill and the marketing wizards at Goldman Sachs, the BRIC concept channelled more than a trillion dollars in investment into Latin America.
The looming end to quantitative easing, or QE, and the problems in China will induce much of the capital to move in the opposite direction. However, that is another issue.
Dr Walter T. Molano is a managing partner and the head of research at BCP Securities LLC.firstname.lastname@example.org