Data from the Tax Authority (SAT) shows that with the exception of January and April, monthly data has been always negative.
"Sales of services show a similar trend, albeit less steep...", reported Elperiodico.com.gt. "The Central Bank of Guatemala forecasts a drop of 1.5% in commerce, but this is considered too optimistic by businessmen".
Businesses reported $2.8 billion in taxable sales in February, 3.7% less than during the same period last year.
In the services sector, there was a 6.1% reduction, from $887 million in February 2008 to $838 million during the same month this year.
According to elPeriodico of Guatemala, the President of the Chamber of Commerce, Jorge Briz said that "the devaluation of the quetzal is taking away from household purchasing power which then reduces consumption, and he expects that this sales trend will continue."
Commercial activity fell between 25% and 30% in January, as reported by the Nicaraguan Chamber of Commerce.
La Prensa publishes on its website: "Eduardo Fonseca, the executive director of Caconic (the Nicaraguan Chamber of Commerce), confirmed this information and said that commerce is following the same course in February.
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