We believe that, in the coming years, Central America's poor infrastructure and lack of regulatory convergence will continue to weigh on the regional economies' export competitiveness and growth. However, over the long term, we are more sanguine, noting increased investment into ports and our expectation for an acceleration in efforts by regional leaders to better align regulations. Such developments will also have a positive effect on the updake of value-added products, especially as distribution networks further encourage the development of modern retail.
Headline Industry Data (regional averages)
- 2013 per capita food consumption (US$) = +4.49%; forecast compound annual growth rate (CAGR) to 2017 = +4.57%
- 2013 alcoholic drink sales (litres) = +5.58%; forecast CAGR to 2017 = +5.15%
- 2013 soft drink sales (litres) = +5.80% ; forecast CAGR to 2017 = +5.35%
- 2013 MGR sales (US$) = +6.28%; forecast CAGR to 2017 = +6.60%
Key Company Trends
Coffee Rust Outbreak Threatening Ouput Across The Region: Coffee exports across the region are likely to remain weak given an outbreak of coffee rust, which we expect to impact the harvests of all major coffee producers in Central America. Indeed, potential output downgrades range from 10% to 30%, which would significantly impact the countries' economic outlook.
Key Risks To Outlook
Political And Economic Risks Remain In Play: We remain of the opinion that political instability, especially in the run-up to elections in a number of Central American countries, will continue to hamper much-needed foreign direct investment. This, in turn, will continue to weigh on the countries' productivity and ability to increase exports, which are already impacted by the negative external conditions, which also exacerbating the political situation. The severity of the instability and the external economic slowdown will have a direct impact on our forecasts across the board.