San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Integration Bank Projects Low Regional Growth

TEGUCIGALPA (ACAN-EFE) – TheCentral American Economic IntegrationBank (BCIE) last week projected 3.2%economic growth for Central America thisyear, citing international economic trendsas the causes for this relatively low rate.In 2004, the region’s economy grew3.7%, but the region “will lose dynamismin the face of deceleration of the worldeconomy, elevated petroleum prices andthe gradual increase of international interestrates.”These statements were part of the“Economic Trends and Perspectives forCentral America” report that BCIE economichead Marvin Taylor presented May11.“The region’s modest growth will beinfluenced as well by greater competitionfrom continental China, especially the textilesector,” the report says.The most dynamic economy this year isexpected to be Honduras at 4.3%, accordingto the report’s predictions, followed byNicaragua (3.8%), Costa Rica (3.4%),Guatemala (3.2%) and El Salvador (2.5%).The report said external demand andinvestment, enhanced by the positive contributionsthe Central American Free-TradeAgreement with the United States(CAFTA) would provide if ratified, alongwith advances toward a Central AmericanCustoms Union, may help increase economicgrowth this year.

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