Shipments of personal computers in Latin America increased 6.1% in the fourth quarter to 1.23 million, according to research firm International Data Corp. Growth in the region outpaced IDC projections of a 5.4% increase for the quarter. Low-cost machines based on AMD, Cyrix and Intel Celeron processors were a principal driver in the market as the average cost of a desktop system fell from $1,500 at the beginning of the year to $1,340 in the fourth quarter. Brazil and Argentina led the region in shipment growth with 19% and 13%, respectively. Mexico’s shipments were up roughly 10% from the fourth quarter 1997, but rose 26% from the previous quarter. The fourth quarter results brought 1998 annual shipments to nearly 4.16 million units, up 12% from 1997. IDC warns, however, that the recent devaluation of the Brazilian Real, and its impact on the region’s economies, is expected to significantly slow PC market growth in 1999.