International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
The remarkable resilience of the economy during the pandemic, driven by policy support, favorable credit conditions and a favorable external environment, has almost returned the level of GDP to its pre-pandemic projected trend. Reflecting the prevalence of domestic factors, headline inflation eased to 3 percent (the lower limit of the inflation target band) at end-2021. For 2022, growth is expected to moderate while inflation is expected to rise in line with global inflationary pressures. Despite the resilience, social indicators such as poverty and malnutrition remain high. The outlook is very uncertain with significant downside risks, mostly external, including from the pandemic, geopolitical tensions, and the tightening of global financial conditions in response to global inflationary pressures.
Aleksandra Babii, Ms. Alina Carare, Dmitry Vasilyev, and Mr. Yorbol Yakhshilikov
Traditional models relying on standard variables like the U.S. Hispanic unemployment rate fared well in explaining remittances to CAPDR and Mexico during the pre-pandemic period. However, they fail to predict the sustained growth in remittances since June 2020, including the significant increase in the average amount remitted. Using data from over 300 remittances corridors (from 23 U.S. states to 14 Salvadoran departments), we find that this increase is primarily explained by the dynamics of U.S. states real wages, as well as more temporary factors like U.S. unemployment relief (including the extraordinary pandemic support), U.S. states mobility, and COVID-19 infections at home. The paper also analyses what role the change in the modes of transmission of remittances, additional U.S. fiscal stimulus and U.S. labor market developments, especially in the sectors were CAPDR and Mexican migrants preponderantly work, play in explaining aggregate remittances growth.
Jean François Clevy, Mr. Guilherme Pedras, and Mrs. Esther Perez Ruiz
The pandemic has urged countries around the globe to mobilize financing to support the recovery. This is even more relevant in Central America, where the policy response to cushion the pandemic’s economic and social impact has accentuated pre-existing debt vulnerabilities. This paper documents the potential for local currency bond markets to diversify and expand financing for the recovery, lowering bond yields, funding volatility, and exposure to global shocks. The paper further identifies priority actions, both national and regional, to support market development.