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Growth bound CentAm is loving the oil slump

Bloomberg

The slump in raw materials prices that has hurt Brazil, Chile, Peru and Colombia is leaving Central America unscathed.
The region is bucking a trend of sluggish growth in the rest of Latin America as cheaper crude prices cut its fuel bills and faster growth in the U.S. boosts remittances and tourist spending.
The region will grow by 4.2 percent this year, led by Panama’s 6.3 percent expansion, according to forecasts from the International Monetary Fund.
That compares to an 0.8 percent growth forecast for Latin America as a whole.
All seven Central American nations count the U.S. as their biggest trading partner, while Brazil, Peru and Chile all do more business with China.
Cooling demand in the Asian giant has contributed to falling prices for South America’s oil, iron ore, copper and soy. As a net importer of oil and most other raw materials, Central America is a net winner from falling commodities prices.
Remittances sent home to Guatemala by workers living in the U.S. and elsewhere rose 18 percent in January from the year earlier.
The country, which has the largest economy is Central America, had received a record $6.3 billion in remittances last year, equivalent to about 10 percent of gross domestic product.
Further south, Costa Rica received a record 2.7 million tourists in 2015 generating $2.9 billion in revenue, according to the country’s tourism board.

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