SANTIAGO, Oct 5 (Reuters) - Latin America's economies are expected to contract 0.3 percent in 2015, down from a previous forecast of 0.5 percent growth, the United Nations' regional arm said, as Brazil's woes drag on its neighbors.
Brazil's economy, the largest in the region, is now expected to contract 2.8 percent this year, the Santiago-based Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) said on Monday.
While commodities-dependent South American economies struggle as growth has weakened in key trade partner China, more northerly countries with closer ties to the U.S. will do better, ECLAC said, predicting 2.2 percent growth for regional no.2 economy Mexico.
Overall, the region should return to growth of 0.7 percent next year, it said, with most economies accelerating compared to this year.
However, Brazil will likely contract again in 2016, albeit at an improved 1.0 percent, while Venezuela's performance would worsen from a 6.7 percent contraction this year to 7.0 percent next, according to ECLAC's figures.
For a full table of ECLAC's growth predictions, see (here)
Reporting by Rosalba O'Brien; Editing by Alan Crosby