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Caribbean & Central America - September 2020

Economic Highlights

REGION | Remittances recover. On 3 September Guatemala’s central bank (Banguat) released new figures which show that remittances to Guatemala continue to show signs of recovery, having slumped earlier this year due to the impact of the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic and the employment situation in the US - the source of most remittances to the country. According to Banguat, remittances totalled U$1.05bn for the month of August, slightly down on the US$1.07bn reported in July but up on the US$690.8m reported in April – the lowest amount registered this year. Remittances have since picked up – with US$836.76m registered in May and US$963.3m in June. Total remittances for the first eight months of 2020 were US$7bn, up from US$6.85bn in the same period last year. Meanwhile El Salvador’s central bank (BCR) released figures on 17 August which show remittances to El Salvador for July were US$553.1m, up 14.1% on July 2019. The BCR report also showed that remittances to El Salvador totalled US$3.08bn in the first seven months of 2020, a 4.7% drop on the same period in 2019. According to the BCR report, remittances to Honduras totalled US$2.98bn in the first seven months of 2020, down 3.3% on the same period in 2019. However, for the month of July, remittances to Honduras were up 1.2% (although absolute figures were not provided). A report by the US-based Pew Research Centre released on 31 August highlights the particular importance of remittances in these countries. In Honduras and El Salvador, for example, remittances accounted for over 20% of GDP in 2019 and 14% in Guatemala.

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