San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

UN Study: C.A.’s Exports Fell Less than Rest of LatAm’s

While Latin America’s total export value fell by about 25 percent last year, Central American exports fell considerably less than that of South America, a new United Nations study shows.

The value of Central American exports in 2009 was down by an estimated 6 percent from the year before, considerably less than South America’s 22 percent decline, according to the study International Trade in Latin America and the Caribbean 2009, released last week by the U.N.’s Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC).

Costa Rica’s export revenue fell around 7 percent, after experiencing a 74 percent increase from 2000-2008, from $5.5 billion to more than $9.5 billion in 2008.

In Nicaragua, exports dropped 4.57 percent. In El Salvador they dropped 13.8 percent. In Guatemala they were down 7.5 percent, and in Honduras they fell by 12 percent.

Panama, on the other hand, bucked the trend last year with a 2 percent growth. Imports, too, were down last year, falling by 25 percent in Latin America and the Caribbean.

ECLAC noted that the year-end trade numbers showed a slight recovery after a 31 percent decline in exports during the first half of the year. The study says this could imply a better outlook for 2010.

Still, analysts predict that Central America’s economic recovery could be slower than the rest of Latin America’s.

–Alex Leff

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