International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
Guatemala has managed to keep infections and deaths moderate during the pandemic. The economic impact of COVID-19 has been mild given an early reopening of the economy, unprecedented policy support, and resilient remittances and exports. However, despite large-scale government interventions to support households, poverty and malnutrition have deteriorated following COVID-19 and the two major hurricanes battering Guatemala last November.
Stephanie Medina Cas, Mr. Alejandro Carrion-Menendez, and Ms. Florencia Frantischek
Several Central American (CADR) central banks with independent monetary policies have adopted policy interest rates as their main instrument to signal their monetary policy stances, often in the context of adopting or transitioning to inflation targeting regimes. This paper finds that the interest-rate transmission mechanism, or the pass-through of the policy rate to market rates, is generally weaker and slower in CADR than in the LA6, the countries selected as benchmarks. A variety of potential factors behind this finding are examined, including the degrees of financial dollarization, exchange rate flexibility, bank concentration, financial sector development, and fiscal dominance. Through panel data analysis, the study suggests that the transmission mechanism can be strengthened by increasing exchange rate flexibility, and, over time, by adopting measures towards reducing financial dollarization, developing the financial sector, and reducing bank concentration.
This paper reviews economic developments in Guatemala during 1990–97. During 1992–97, Guatemala’s economic performance strengthened, with growth rates averaging 4 percent helped by declining inflation, progress in trade and financial reform, and favorable terms of trade. Efforts to improve fiscal and credit policies contributed to reducing the external current account deficit and strengthening the net international reserve position. The authorities succeeded in bringing the combined public sector position to balance in 1995–96. The tax effort was raised from less than 7 percent of GDP in 1994 to 8.7 percent of GDP in 1996.