The Latin American storyline shifted last year as the gangrenous financial crisis spread from the countries where it sprang forth to the periphery. For the first half of the year, talk in the region was of resilience and differentiation from the credit-mad developed world. In the second half, and especially the last quarter, the rhetoric swirled around how far contamination will reach and which sectors are most vulnerable to a drop in asset quality.

As Fitch Ratings pointed out in its 2009 Review and Outlook for Latin America, the decoupling thesis is no longer compelling.

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