13 February News Brief Central America

Gerardo Polo

MEXICO CITY, Mexico – Calderón shows leadership in the face of world economic crisis: In reference to his government's inaugurating road construction projects, Mexican president Felipe Calderón said, “Neither have we crossed our arms, nor are we going to sit with our arms crossed in the face of the international economic crisis affecting us.” Calderón attempted to demonstrate that his administration will keep the country afloat during the crisis with an investment in public works of MX$600 billion (approximately US$41 billion). Calderón compared the crisis to a heart attack in the U.S. economy which is hindering healthy blood flow into Mexico.

[El Universal, Exonline]

GUATEMALA, Guatemala – Remittances fall in January 2009: Funds sent back home by Guatemalans living abroad, especially in the U.S., fell by 7.8 percent in January 2009 as compared to the same month in 2008. In simple terms, this reduction translates to a sum of US$24.4 million, with a reduction from US$314.6 million received in January 2008 to US$290.2 million in 2009. This is due largely to the world economic crisis and increased deportations from the U.S. The last time a reduction was seen in money transfers was 10 years ago, with a fall of 6.18 percent. Approximately 4.1 million people (30 percent of the population) benefit from these transfers.

[Prensa Libre, El Periódico]

MANAGUA, Nicaragua – Significant reduction in Nicaraguan exports: Nicaragua's exports fell by 27.2 percent in January 2009 as compared to the same month in 2008. These exports produced income of US$97.4 million compared to US$133.8 million the year before. Exports have fallen not only in value, but also in volume. Furthermore, economist Nestor Avendaño predicted a 14.4 percent increase in unemployment in 2009, which would mean that 45,000 Nicaraguans will lose their jobs.

[La Prensa, Bolsa de Noticias]

SAN JOSÉ, Costa Rica – Costa Rica’s economy shrinks significantly: According to the Central Bank of Costa Rica, the economy shrunk significantly in the last quarter of 2008 compared to the same period the previous year. The Monthly Index of Economic Activity fell by 0.8 percent in October 2008, 2.23 percent in November and 3.14 percent in December. This is the greatest fall in economic activity recorded in over 18 years, the last one occurring in 1991. Industry, construction and hotels are shrinking the most.

[Nación, Prensa Libre] 

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