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Guatemala - Current economic position and prospects (Английский)

Until very recently, the Guatemalan economy has been growing very slowly. Real per capita income declined from Q271 in 1957 to Q266 in 1962. The lack of dynamism in the economy was largely the result of the stagnation of export values, due to the pronounced drop in coffee prices after 1957 at a time when coffee accounted for 65-70 percent of total export earnings, and the accompanying stagnation of investment. The gradual development of new products for export was not sufficient to offset the decline in coffee earnings. Prospects for the growth of foreign exchange earnings are encouraging. Guatemala should accordingly be able to finance an adequate growth of imports of goods and services and at the same time gradually limit or reduce the present fairly large current account deficit. The very rapid growth of imports which occurred in 1963-64 after six years of declining import levels is not likely to continue at the same pace in the next few years. Ex-port earnings should grow at an average annual rate of about 6 per cent from $167 million in 1964 to about $23C million in 1970. Their composition should also improve as dependence on coffee is likely to be substantially reduced, making export earnings less vulnerable to a substantial drop in coffee prices than they were in 1957-62. However, the prospects for exports and for continued economic growth require a minimum degree of political stability. In the past fifteen years, political turbulence has at times seriously affected the pace of economic growth. The political situation is likely to be stable in the foreseeable future.

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