PC shipments in Latin America grew almost 10 per cent during the second quarter, but problems such as insufficient credit and high interest rates continue affecting the market, according to a Gartner Inc. study.

The growth in shipments, due largely to strong sales in some segments of the corporate sector, shouldn’t be taken as an indication of a healthy market, Gartner said in a statement Thursday. Total shipments came in at two billion, up 9.5 per cent from last year’s second quarter.

The notebook segment emerged as a bright spot, posting shipment growth of 24 per cent, thanks to vendors’ ability to provide reasonable prices and enticing features, Gartner said.

After a recent string of quarterly shipment drops, market leader Hewlett-Packard Co. (HP) managed to turn around and post a 4.8 per cent increase during the second quarter. That was good for an 11 per cent shipment market share and for retaining the top spot.

That market share is, however, very far from the days when the combined shipments from Compaq and HP reached 28 per cent at the close of 1999. HP bought Compaq last year. HP’s shipments dropped 31.4 per cent in 2002, and 43.3 per cent in 2003’s first quarter.

Meanwhile, Dell Inc. once again posted tremendous growth, increasing its shipments 45.2 per cent. It thus nabbed the second place with 6.2 per cent of all shipments. IBM Corp.’s shipments fell 15.3 per cent and came in third with shipment market share of 3.8 per cent. Mexican vendor Alaska grabbed the fourth spot, followed by Toshiba Corp.

Viewing the results by country, Brazil, the largest market, grew its shipments 1.6 per cent to 900,000 units, while Mexico, the second-largest market, posted a 5 per cent increase to 460,814. Meanwhile, Argentina, slowly emerging from a devastating economic crisis, saw its shipments rocket by 236 per cent, while its neighbour Chile registered 15 per cent growth.