Sept. 9 News Brief Central America/Caribbean

Winston F. Burges

TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras – Honduras pays CABEI debt: In the midst of the institutional crisis affecting the country, Honduras' the de facto government paid US$6 million back to the Central American Bank for Economic Integration (CABEI). The repayment on a loan taken out in 2000 was made despite the fact that CABEI has not recognized the current Honduran authorities, and suspended all new loans to the country since President Manuel Zelaya was ousted by force on June 28.

[EFE, Infolatam]

PANAMA CITY, Panama – Panama retains regional competitive edge: According to the World Economic Forum's Global Competitiveness Report 2009-2010, Panama is one of Latin America's most competitive economies, ranking 59th worldwide. The report measures the extent to which a country offers an environment that promotes short- and medium-term sustainable economic growth. Of the 133 developed and developing nations analyzed, Panama was only surpassed in Latin America by Chile (30), Puerto Rico (42), Barbados (44), Costa Rica (55) and Brazil (56).

[Panamá Newsbriefs, Prensa.com]

GUATEMALA CITY, Guatemala – Prices continue to fall: The Consumer Price Index (CPI) has fallen for two consecutive months, by 0.3 percent in July and 0.73 percent in August. According to the National Statistics Institute this is the first time in 25 years that Guatemala has registered deflation. The majority of price cuts were observed in the food sector, for example on bananas, margarine and potatoes. Cheaper fuel also reduced transportation costs and the lower cost of groceries benefited the poor.

[El Periódico, Siglo XXI]

SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador – Funes still popular after 100 days: El Salvador's President Mauricio Funes completed 100 days in office with a popularity rating of over 80 percent, revealed a survey conducted by the Mitofsky polling firm. In June, Funes was sworn-in after 20 years of rightwing governments, in the midst of serious security issues and an economy weakened by the world financial crisis. Funes asked the opposition to allow him to govern unhindered, saying they have already had their chance, now let us govern and reach an understanding with the people.

[EFE, Prensa Libre, AFP]

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