Guatemala: Economy#

Guatemala is the most populous country in Central America with a GDP per capita roughly half the average for Latin America and the Caribbean. The agricultural sector accounts for 13.6% of GDP and 31% of the labor force; key agricultural exports include sugar, coffee, bananas, and vegetables. Guatemala is the top remittance recipient in Central America as a result of Guatemala's large expatriate community in the US. These inflows are a primary source of foreign income, equivalent to over one-half of the country's exports or one-tenth of its GDP.

The 1996 peace accords, which ended 36 years of civil war, removed a major obstacle to foreign investment, and since then Guatemala has pursued important reforms and macroeconomic stabilization. The Dominican Republic-Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR) entered into force in July 2006, spurring increased investment and diversification of exports, with the largest increases in ethanol and non-traditional agricultural exports. While CAFTA-DR has helped improve the investment climate, concerns over security, the lack of skilled workers, and poor infrastructure continue to hamper foreign direct investment.

The distribution of income remains highly unequal with the richest 20% of the population accounting for more than 51% of Guatemala's overall consumption. More than half of the population is below the national poverty line, and 23% of the population lives in extreme poverty. Poverty among indigenous groups, which make up more than 40% of the population, averages 79%, with 39.8% of the indigenous population living in extreme poverty. Nearly one-half of Guatemala's children under age five are chronically malnourished, one of the highest malnutrition rates in the world.

Guatemala is facing growing fiscal pressures exacerbated by multiple corruption scandals in 2015 that led to the resignation of the president, vice president, and numerous high-level economic officials.

Economic Facts#

GDP (purchasing power parity)$132.3 billion (2016 est.)
$127.9 billion (2015 est.)
$122.8 billion (2014 est.)
note: data are in 2016 dollars
GDP (official exchange rate)$68.39 billion (2015 est.)
GDP - real growth rate3.5% (2016 est.)
4.1% (2015 est.)
4.2% (2014 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP)$7,900 (2016 est.)
$7,900 (2015 est.)
$7,700 (2014 est.)
note: data are in 2016 dollars
Gross national saving12.9% of GDP (2016 est.)
13.1% of GDP (2015 est.)
11.6% of GDP (2014 est.)
GDP - composition, by end usehousehold consumption: 84.4%
government consumption: 10.4%
investment in fixed capital: 13.3%
investment in inventories: 0.5%
exports of goods and services: 21.4%
imports of goods and services: -30% (2016 est.)
GDP - composition, by sector of originagriculture: 13.2%
industry: 23.5%
services: 63.3% (2016 est.)
Agriculture - productssugarcane, corn, bananas, coffee, beans, cardamom; cattle, sheep, pigs, chickens
Industriessugar, textiles and clothing, furniture, chemicals, petroleum, metals, rubber, tourism
Industrial production growth rate3.2% (2016 est.)
Labor force4.623 million (2016 est.)
Labor force - by occupationagriculture: 31.2%
industry: 14.4%
services: 54.4% (2014 est.)
Unemployment rate2.9% (2014 est.)
3% (2013 est.)
Population below poverty line59.3% (2014 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage sharelowest 10%: 1.3%
highest 10%: 42.4% (2006)
Distribution of family income - Gini index53 (2014 est.)
56 (2011)
Budgetrevenues: $7.39 billion
expenditures: $8.186 billion (2016 est.)
Taxes and other revenues10.8% of GDP (2016 est.)
Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)-1.2% of GDP (2016 est.)
Public debt27.4% of GDP (2016 est.)
28.8% of GDP (2015 est.)
Fiscal yearcalendar year
Inflation rate (consumer prices)4.3% (2016 est.)
2.4% (2015 est.)
Central bank discount rate6.5% (31 December 2010)
Commercial bank prime lending rate13.2% (31 December 2016 est.)
13.23% (31 December 2015 est.)
Stock of narrow money$10.95 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$10.05 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
Stock of broad money$25.3 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$23.25 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
Stock of domestic credit$32.41 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$28.7 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares$NA
Current account balance-$323 million (2016 est.)
-$202 million (2015 est.)
Exports$11.43 billion (2016 est.)
$10.83 billion (2015 est.)
Exports - commoditiessugar, coffee, petroleum, apparel, bananas, fruits and vegetables, cardamom, manufacturing products, precious stones and metals, electricity
Exports - partnersUS 34.9%, El Salvador 8.4%, Honduras 7.3%, Nicaragua 5%, Canada 4.6%, Mexico 4.3%, Costa Rica 4.1% (2015)
Imports$16.76 billion (2016 est.)
$16.38 billion (2015 est.)
Imports - commoditiesfuels, machinery and transport equipment, construction materials, grain, fertilizers, electricity, mineral products, chemical products, plastic materials and products
Imports - partnersUS 38.3%, China 13.4%, Mexico 11.8%, El Salvador 4.9% (2015)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold$8.803 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$7.746 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
Debt - external$19.09 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$18.6 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
Exchange ratesquetzales (GTQ) per US dollar -
7.648 (2016 est.)
7.6548 (2015 est.)
7.6548 (2014 est.)
7.7322 (2013 est.)
7.83 (2012 est.)