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While it's no secret to Latin Trade readers that Latin America is a global growth star, research by Latin Business Chronicle shows which multinationals are benefiting most from that boom.

According to the online publication's Latin Multinational, index, which tracks quarterly revenue growth of more than 20 leading multinationals operating in Latin America, U.S.-based Caterpillar is the undisputed star.

Last year, Caterpillar increased sales in Latin America by 57.7 percent to $6.2 billion. That was nearly twice the growth rate of runner-up Volkswagen. The German auto giant boosted its Latin America sales by 29.8 percent to $17.9 billion.

During the first half of 2011, Caterpillar also did welt, boosting first-quarter revenues in Latin America by 84 percent and second-quarter sales by 34 percent.

Caterpillar has been helped by strong growth in mining and construction in Latin America. "Mining customers are increasing their investment, which is driving significant demand for our large mining products and higher parts sales," Caterpillar said in its second-quarter earnings release.

Brazil. was the largest contributor to higher machine volume in Latin America last year. The country's mining sector -led by Vale [the world's second-largest mining company]--benefited from strong demand in China last year. In fact, Vale is the multilatina that grew its revenues most test year, according to the Multilatina Index from Latin Business Chronicle.

Mexico contributed the second-highest volume growth in 2010 for Caterpillar. "Positive factors were lower interest rates, higher mining production and a more than 30 percent increase in exports," the company said in its 2010 annual, report.

Meanwhile, Caterpillar volume more than doubled in Peru, the third-largest contributor to volume growth in Latin America last year. "Peru benefited from...

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