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Central America economies heavily dependent on the US fortunes
Central America Business Forecast Report Q1 2014 - a new country guide report on 2014-03-17 07:02:01
Central America as a region will remain heavily dependent on the performance of developed-state economies, particularly the US, which remains a major source for remittance flows and demand for exports.

Drug-related violence and rising levels of insecurity will remain the major concerns for most of the region´s electorate, although such concerns will be particularly elevated among the ´northern triangle´ states of Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras.

The region´s economic trajectory remains highly divergent. Panama is set to experience one of the fastest real GDP growth rates in the world over the next few years, whereas El Salvador and Guatemala will struggle.

Major Forecast Changes

We believe that growth in Nicaraguan government revenues will continue to outpace growth in expenditures in 2014, leading to an improvement in the country´s fiscal position following a spate of tax reforms implemented since 2010. As such, we forecast that Nicaragua´s nominal budget balance will shift to a small surplus of 0.04% of GDP in 2014, from a forecasted deficit of 0.3% of GDP in 2013.

Following a weak H113, we revised our balance of payments forecasts for Panama to account for wider trade and current account shortfalls.

Key Risk To Outlook

Upside Risk: The performance of the US economy, and particularly US demand for regional exports, remains the biggest upside risk to our growth forecasts. We currently forecast US real GDP growth 1.8% in 2013 and 2.8% in 2014, but if growth is significantly stronger, we would be likely to see Central American economies perform better than we currently anticipate.

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Mike King
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