Country Insights

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Robust rebound, with political complications
CENTRAL AMERICA - Report 20 Dec 2021
Costa Rica’s Christmas season promises more economic activity, as is usual at this time of year, while unemployment figures are slowly falling. The virtual removal of mobility restrictions and more flexibility for gathering have been key measures, favored by a good pace of vaccination, while new ...

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Rebound – but with challenges ahead
CENTRAL AMERICA - Report 29 Nov 2021
Costa Rica’s Presidential elections will be held on February 6th, 2022. Right now there are 27 presidential candidates, none of them have the 40% of the vote, according to recent polls. Elections will gravitate around three subjects: unemployment, the cost of living and corruption in government. ...

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Recovery and corruption
CENTRAL AMERICA - Report 29 Oct 2021
Costa Rica’s economic activity continues recovering, after COVID-19’s disruptive effects. External demand is the main driver, as shown by short-term indicators. In fact, most of the dynamism comes from the export-oriented free-trade zones, while the so-called “definitive regime” lags far behind. ...

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Webinar Replay: Central America and the Caribbean
CENTRAL AMERICA - Report 29 Oct 2021
Gain insights into the issues that matter the most for the Central America and Caribbean region, focusing on El Salvador, the Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, Panama, and The Bahamas. Visit our calendar page to watch the webinar replay.

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COVID resurges, even as finances stabilize
CENTRAL AMERICA - Report 29 Sep 2021
El Salvador’s economy shows remarkable dynamism toward overcoming the economic effects of the pandemic, in H1 2022 or even earlier. In politics, understanding where El Salvador is headed continues to be a hard task. President Nayib Bukele’s political discourse normally highlights success in confr...

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El Salvador: On bitcoins and presidential re-election
CENTRAL AMERICA - In Brief 08 Sep 2021 1 response
On bitcoinsOn Tuesday El Salvador adopted bitcoins as a legal tender currency. Daily transactions such as buying groceries or paying taxes can now be made using bitcoins through a digital wallet called “Chivo” (local slang for "cool"). President Bukele confirmed that on Monday the government purc...

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Looking up
CENTRAL AMERICA - Report 27 Aug 2021
The Guatemalan economy will recover more quickly than that of other Central American countries, with a more favorable outlook for the next 18 months. The evolution of the international economy, the improvement in domestic expectations and a rational handling of economic policy will be crucial to ...

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Costa Rica: Mid-term revision of the Macroeconomic Program 2021-2022
CENTRAL AMERICA - In Brief 05 Aug 2021
The Central Bank of Costa Rica released the mid-term revision of the macroeconomic program for 2021-2022 on July 30th. Based on H1 indicators, with a better external outlook and improvement on vaccine process, the Bank concluded that economic activity will be higher than previous estimates in 202...

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El Salvador was downgraded by Moody’s
CENTRAL AMERICA - In Brief 02 Aug 2021
The rating agency Moody’s downgraded El Salvador’s bonds from Ba3 to Caa1 on July 30th, 2021, turning the country’s debt into the category of “junk bonds”. At the same time, the outlook was rated “negative”. The same grade was also granted by Moody’s in April 2017, when the government failed to p...

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Recovery under uncertainty
CENTRAL AMERICA - Report 29 Jul 2021
The Costa Rican economy showed better than expected results in H1. Faster recovery of the country’s main trading partners helped improve exports. H1 fiscal figures were also favorable. The next 18 months will be crucial. The first review of the SBA agreement with the IMF will be in October 2021, ...

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On Recovery, Bitcoin and Immigration
CENTRAL AMERICA - Report 28 Jun 2021
Costa Rica shows signs of recovery attributable to the fast pace of growth in developed economies, despite the intensification of COVID-19 mainly during April and May, and a partial reversal in June. In fact, mobility restrictions were re-introduced, and continued in June. Some acceleration of va...

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Slowdown, and clashes over corruption
CENTRAL AMERICA - Report 28 May 2021 1 response
The number of daily COVID-19 cases in Costa Rica has been rising since April. The government announced tighter restrictions to limit the spread of the virus, and to address a possible saturation of the public health system. These actions will definitely slow economic activity in May-June, and aff...

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EL SALVADOR: Authoritarianism on its way?
CENTRAL AMERICA - Report 05 May 2021
The removal of all five Constitutional Court members, as well as the Attorney General, was of the most striking decisions taken by the new legislators in their first day of Congress, on May 1, 2020. The constant disagreements of President Nayib Bukele with those officials, particularly strong reg...

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Edging forward
CENTRAL AMERICA - Report 27 Apr 2021
Opacity in political conditions in El Salvador continued during April, the last month of the current Congress. What happens from May on, when the official party will be dominant in Congress, remains to be seen. The ample majority obtained by the president’s New Ideas party and its allies in the F...

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A critical year
CENTRAL AMERICA - Report 26 Mar 2021
Guatemala performed better than its regional partners in 2020. Though the COVID-19 pandemic affected the global economy, its intensity differed from country to country. In Guatemala, temporary restrictions on economic activity were compensated for by positive external results in merchandise expor...