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International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.

This Selected Issues paper estimates both Guatemala’s potential output and output gap using a wide range of econometric techniques. The analysis suggests that Guatemala’s potential output growth is about 3.5 percent for the whole sample period and that the output gap is almost closed. Results are highly robust among different methodologies. Among the methods used, several well-known time series filters and two different estimations of a state-space model are included. Additionally, a test for structural breaks in the series of potential GDP is presented. All methodologies conclude that the output gap at the end of 2012 is almost closed at -0.2 percent of potential GDP.

International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.

In recent years, the IMF has released a growing number of reports and other documents covering economic and financial developments and trends in member countries. Each report, prepared by a staff team after discussions with government officials, is published at the option of the member country.

International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
This Selected Issues note estimates Guatemala’s potential output and output gap using the production function approach, univariate statistical filters, and multivariate models based on the Kalman filter method. In the production function approach, potential output is modeled as a function of potential labor and capital inputs, and total factor productivity (TFP). Results are robust to different methodologies and suggest that its potential output growth is about 3.5 percent and the output gap is on average closed. Structural breaks in potential output were identified in 1994, 2003, and 2008, which coincide to the Mexican tequila crisis, the free trade agreement with the US, and the financial crisis. Going forward, it is critical to undertake structural reforms to strengthen capital, labor, and TFP growth in order to accelerate potential growth. Univariate statistical methods provide a simple measure of potential output. The production function approach also indicates that the absence of productivity growth is a significant barrier to potential output growth.
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.
International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.

2018 Article IV Consultation-Press Release; Staff Report; and Statement by the Executive Director for Guatemala