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International Monetary Fund. European Dept.
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International Monetary Fund. European Dept.
Guatemala has weathered many crises well. Its ’s economy has proved resilient, building on a solid track-record of prudent policies—low fiscal deficits and debt-to-GDP ratio, and high international reserves—and strong remittance inflows. After a strong rebound in 2021, Guatemala’s economy has been slowing down—with GDP growth halving to a solid 4.1 percent in 2022. Inflation increased in 2022 but peaked in February 2023 (9.9 percent, year-on-year) to drop to 8.71 percent in March 2023. At the same time, public investment tends to be under-executed, poverty remains high, and tax revenue is weak, while substantial institutional, investment, and social gaps and governance weaknesses hinder progress. Addressing these requires higher broad-based and inclusive growth and further progress in the reform agenda. The authorities’ goal to attain investment grade and attract foreign investment could unlock opportunities. General elections are due June 25, 2023 (the second round on August 20, if needed).
International Monetary Fund. Fiscal Affairs Dept.
In response to a request by the Ministry of Public Finance (MFP) of Guatemala, a remote technical assistance mission was carried out by the Fiscal Affairs Department (FAD) of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) from March 7 to 21, 2022, to analyze certain international aspects of the country’s tax regime. Discussions focused on treaties for the avoidance of double taxation and their effectiveness in attracting foreign direct investment, transfer pricing regulations, and the implications for Guatemala of the minimum standards agreed by the tax base erosion and profit shifting (BEPS) project backed by the G20 and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
Ms. Sandra Marcelino and Mariana Sans
This paper studies the drivers of the labor market performance in Nicaragua with a particular focus on informality, to identify vulnerable groups during economic downturns; and estimates the speed of adjustment of employment to shocks. The paper compares this experience with the ones in other CAPDR countries (Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Panama). Our findings are that while the high countercyclical informality in Nicaragua has been the active margin of adjustment during economic downturns mitigating unemployment, the trade-off has been a lower speed of adjustment to shocks hampering the country’s ability to revert to its potential. Policy recommendations relate to mitigating the impact of downturns on employment in Nicaragua, easing adjustments and inequalities in the labor market to hasten the employment recovery and thus, support growth.