The Economy of Guatemala

The Economy of Guatemala

Guatemalan Economy

Economy - overview: Guatemala is the most populous of the Central American countries with a GDP per capita roughly one-half that of Argentina, Brazil, and Chile. The agricultural sector accounts for about one-tenth of GDP, two-fifths of exports, and half of the labor force. Coffee, sugar, and bananas are the main products, with sugar exports benefiting from increased global demand for ethanol. The 1996 signing of peace accords, which ended 36 years of civil war, removed a major obstacle to foreign investment, and Guatemala since then has pursued important reforms and macroeconomic stabilization. The Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) entered into force in July 2006 and has since spurred increased investment in the export sector, but concerns over security, the lack of skilled workers and poor infrastructure continued to hamper foreign participation. The distribution of income remains highly unequal with more than half of the population below the national poverty line. Other ongoing challenges include increasing government revenues, negotiating further assistance from international donors, curtailing drug trafficking and rampant crime, and narrowing the trade deficit. Given Guatemala's large expatriate community in the United States, it is the top remittance recipient in Central America, with inflows serving as a primary source of foreign income equivalent to nearly two-thirds of exports. Economic growth will slow in 2009 as export demand from US and other Central American markets drop and foreign investment slows amid the global slowdown.


GDP - real growth rate: 3.8% (2008 est.) 5.7% (2007 est.) 5.3% (2006 est.)

GDP - per capita:

GDP - composition by sector: agriculture: 13.2% industry: 25.8% services: 61% (2008 est.)

Population below poverty line:

Household income or consumption by percentage share: lowest 10%: 0.9% highest 10%: 43.4% (2002)

Distribution of family income - Gini index: 55.1 (2007)

Inflation rate (consumer prices):

Labor force: 4.054 million (2008 est.)

Labor force - by occupation: agriculture: 50% industry: 15% services: 35% (1999 est.)

Unemployment rate: 3.2% (2005 est.)

Budget: revenues: $4.944 billion expenditures: $5.647 billion (2008 est.)

Industries: sugar, textiles and clothing, furniture, chemicals, petroleum, metals, rubber, tourism

Industrial production growth rate: 3.5% (2008 est.)

Electricity - production: 7.643 billion kWh (2006 est.)

Electricity - production by source:

Electricity - consumption: 6.617 billion kWh (2006 est.)

Electricity - exports: 131.9 million kWh (2007 est.)

Electricity - imports: 8.11 million kWh (2007 est.)

Oil - production: 15,820 bbl/day (2007 est.)

Oil - consumption: 74,230 bbl/day (2006 est.)

Oil - exports: 15,560 bbl/day (2006 est.)

Oil - imports: 72,960 bbl/day (2006 est.)

Oil - proved reserves: 83.07 million bbl (1 January 2008 est.)

Natural gas - production: 0 cu m (2007 est.)

Natural gas - consumption: 0 cu m (2007 est.)

Natural gas - exports: 0 cu m (2007 est.)

Natural gas - imports: 0 cu m (2007 est.)

Natural gas - proved reserves: 2.96 billion cu m (1 January 2006 est.)

Agriculture - products: sugarcane, corn, bananas, coffee, beans, cardamom; cattle, sheep, pigs, chickens

Exports: $8.028 billion f.o.b. (2008 est.)

Exports - commodities: coffee, sugar, petroleum, apparel, bananas, fruits and vegetables, cardamom

Exports - partners: US 42.2%, El Salvador 9.6%, Honduras 8.6%, Mexico 6.5%, Costa Rica 4.5% (2007)

Imports: $15.42 billion f.o.b. (2008 est.)

Imports - commodities: fuels, machinery and transport equipment, construction materials, grain, fertilizers, electricity

Imports - partners: US 34.9%, Mexico 9.9%, China 6.8%, El Salvador 4.6%, Costa Rica 4.1% (2007)

Debt - external: $6.337 billion (31 December 2008 est.)

Economic aid - recipient:


Currency code:

Exchange rates: quetzales (GTQ) per US dollar - 7.5895 (2008 est.), 7.6833 (2007), 7.6026 (2006), 7.6339 (2005), 7.9465 (2004)

Fiscal year:

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