Central America: A Snapshot of the Construction Industry

During 2020 in all countries of the region, construction activity decreased considerably and Central American cement imports stagnated, this adverse scenario is explained by the economic crisis generated by the pandemic.

Thursday, March 18, 2021

The construction industry statistics system, which is part of the interactive platform "Construction in Central America" of CentralAmericaData's Business Intelligence area, compiles the most important industry data for each of the countries in the region.

The information system states that during the third quarter of 2020, the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Construction in Guatemala amounted to $1,021 million, followed by Panama with $813 million, Costa Rica with $492 million, Honduras with $341 million, El Salvador with $315 million and the smallest was Nicaragua, which totaled $115 million.

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Regarding the year-on-year variation of GDP, official figures show that for the period from July to September 2020, construction fell 71% in Panama, 25% in Honduras, 20% in El Salvador, 13% in Costa Rica, 8% in Guatemala and 5% in Nicaragua.

According to the Monthly Index of Economic Activity (IMAE) of the construction industry, a short-term indicator that provides information on the industry's performance, in Costa Rica a year-on-year variation of -21% was reported as of November 2020.

In December 2020, in El Salvador and Honduras, the IMAE decreased 3% and 26% in year-on-year terms, respectively; in Guatemala, the decrease reported as of September last year amounted to 12%.

In the case of Nicaraguan construction, at the end of 2020, the IMAE reported a 3% drop.



(Image extracted from the interactive platform "Construction in Central America")

In this context of health and economic crisis, generated by the Covid-19 outbreak, Central American cement imports stopped growing. The construction statistics system details that after the period from January to September 2019, regional purchases increased 28% year-on-year, during the first nine months of 2020, imports decreased 0.85%.

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More on this topic

Costa Rican Economy Remains in Crisis

April 2021

During February 2021, economic activity fell 4.7% in year-on-year terms, a drop that evidences that the economic crisis caused by the covid-19 outbreak continues to affect Costa Rica.

According to the Central Bank of Costa Rica (BCCR), as per the cycle trend series of the Monthly Index of Economic Activity (IMAE), the inter-annual variation of production reached its lowest point in June 2020, at which point it began a gradual recovery process.

Honduran Economic Activity Falls 9% in 2020

February 2021

At the end of last year, the Monthly Index of Economic Activity reported a -8.5% year-on-year variation, a drop that is explained by the negative effects generated by the outbreak of covid-19 and tropical storms Iota and Eta.

The national production of goods and services in terms of volume, showed a contraction in the accumulated variation rate of 8.5% (increase of 3.1% in 2019), mainly explained by the negative effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on economic activity and demand, added to the impact of tropical storms Eta and Iota on agricultural crops, some industries and productive infrastructure, mainly in the northern part of the country, says an official report.

Panama: Economic Activity Recovers Dynamism

December 2020

Due to the crisis generated by the covid-19, in May 2020 the economic activity registered its worst decline by falling 31% in year-on-year terms, however, as of June minor decreases were reported and in September the drop was 22%.

The accumulated Monthly Index of Economic Activity (IMAE) from January to September 2020 registered a 18.3% decrease, compared to the same period in 2019, informed the General Comptroller of the Republic.

Economic Activity Shows Signs of Recovery

August 2020

After in May this year and in the context of the economic crisis, the IMAE in Guatemala registered a -12% year-on-year variation, during June 2020 the contraction of production was lower, reporting a 9% fall compared to the same month in 2019.

In the current economic crisis resulting from the spread of covid-19, the activities that have most boosted the drop in production are trade, tourism and transport, reported the Bank of Guatemala.

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