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International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
The pandemic interrupted ten years of growth, but El Salvador is rebounding quickly. Robust external demand, resilient remittances, and a sound management of the pandemic—with the help of a disbursement under the Rapid Financing Instrument (RFI) (SDR287.2 million or US$389 million) approved in April 2020—are supporting a strong recovery. Persistent fiscal deficits and high debt service are leading to large and increasing gross fiscal financing needs.
Mr. Andrew J Swiston
This paper investigates Central America's external linkages over the last fifteen years of increased integration in light of the 2008-09 global recession. Using structural VAR models, it is found that a one percent shock to U.S. growth shifts economic activity in Central America by 0.7 to 1 percent, on average. Spillovers from global shocks and the rest of the region also affect activity in some countries. Spillovers are mostly transmitted through advanced country financial conditions and fluctuations in external demand for Central American exports. Shocks to advanced economies associated with the 2008-09 financial crisis lowered economic activity in the region by 4 to 5 percent, on average, accounting for a majority of the observed slowdown. The impact was almost twice as large as elasticities estimated on pre-crisis data would have predicted. These results underscore the importance of operating credible policy frameworks that enable a countercyclical policy response to external shocks.
Mr. Shaun K. Roache
The economies of Central America share a close relationship with the United States, with considerable comovement of GDP growth over a long period of time. Trade, the financial sector, and remittance flows are all potential channels through which the U.S. cycle could affect the region. But just how dependent is growth in the region on the U.S.? Using the common cycles method of Vahid and Engle (1993), this paper suggests that the business cycle is dominated by the U.S.; region-specific growth drivers tend to be long-lasting shocks, rather than temporary fluctuations. The most cyclically sensitive countries include Costa Rica, El Salvador, and Honduras.
Luis René Cáceres and Nolvia Nery Saca
Family remittances are important for El Salvador's economy. This paper analyzes the impact of remittances on El Salvador's economy and the spillover effects on the other Central American countries. A vector autoregression (VAR) model is formulated, consisting of real and monetary variables. The results suggest that in, El Salvador, remittances lead to decreases in economic activity, international reserves, and money supply and increases in the interest rate, imports, and consumer prices. This underscores the need for reorienting economic policy in El Salvador to promote the use of remittances in capital formation activities to maximize the benefit of remittances.
International Monetary Fund

Abstract

Intraregional financial activity in Central America has grown substantially in the past decade, contributing to efficiency and economic development. At the same time, the expansion of activities by regional conglomerates has increased the challenges to supervisory authorities of containing the risks of contagion. Prepared as part of the Central America Financial Sector Regional Project by an IMF and World Bank staff team, this book outlines trends in the region's financial sector integration, supervisory responses, development of the insurance sector, payment and securities settlement arrangements, and worker remittances. It addresses the many common policy challenges facing Central American countries--Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama--in financial sector reform. The book offers key policy recommendations.

International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.
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International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.
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