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Panama and the Dominican Republic to Achieve Robust GDP Growth Levels by 2024
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This research delves into the macroeconomic outlook for Latin American and Caribbean countries with respect to the political environment, GDP growth, inflation and interest rates, income levels, labor market, and population. The countries analyzed as a part this research include Puerto Rico, Panama, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, and Guatemala. The study period for this research is 2015 to 2026, with estimates for 2019, and forecasts from 2020 to 2026.With regard to the political situation, new president was sworn in in Panama in July 2019, with policy priorities being fighting corruption and stronger ties with the US. Several locations in Jamaica have been subject to a state of emergency in the last few months due to high crime rates. Costa Rica recently, finally, saw the passage of a fiscal reform package, following nearly a 2-decade gridlock. The fiscal reform includes tax hikes and public spending cuts, which stand to restrain short-term GDP growth, but put Costa Rica on a more sustainable growth path. In terms of GDP growth levels, Puerto has been in recession since 2005, with the country expected to emerge from recession only by around 2024. The damaged caused by Hurricane Maria from 2017 has been a key factor weighing the economy down, and the country has been struggling with a debt crisis even before the hurricane hit it. Panama and the Dominican Republic are the bright spots in the region, with expected GDP growth levels of nearly 5%. Panama has, in fact, displayed robust growth levels for years together now, supported by factors such as high investments and the expansion of the Panama Canal. The Dominican Republic appears to have recovered from the growth slump in 2017 on account of weather-related factors, with a strong growth of 7% registered in 2018. Trinidad and Tobago has emerged from its recessionary conditions, with energy-led recovery and economic diversification efforts to help support growth acceleration between 2019 and 2026.With interest rates in Panama and Puerto Rico being closely linked to the US, these countries are expected to see interest rate cuts going forward, given the rate cuts in the US. Jamaica and Costa Rica are also expected see rate cuts, thereby, leading to lesser borrowing costs in these countries. In terms of the population growth outlook, all countries are experiencing a decline in the rate of their population growth. Puerto Rico is, in fact, experiencing a decline in its population size, with recessionary conditions and US citizenship of Puerto Ricans continuing to contribute to migration and population decline in the next few years.
Key Issues Addressed
Author: Neha Anna Thomas
Central American and Caribbean Countries Economic Tracker, H2 2019
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