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Increased investment

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Central America is bucking a worldwide trend of lower growth in foreign direct investment, according to the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean.

The 7 percent growth recorded last year for a total of $8.8 billion was almost twice as much as 2009, when the international crisis peaked.

Nicaragua was the only country in the region to record less investment, while Panama and Costa Rica took the lion's share.

Panama was the leader, with $3 billion, a third of the total.

Costa Rica accounted for a quarter, with $2.3 billion.

Guatemala, received $1.2 billion, not a great result for the region's largest economy, but 18 percent more than in the prior year.

The two poorest countries had mixed results.

Honduras received $1.1 billion, up 4.3 percent.

Nicaragua, at $800 million, received 16 percent less than the previous year.

El Salvador, long the black sheep of the Central American family in terms of investment, received $516 million, a third more than in 2011, though from a low base.

The numbers are less attractive, when compared with those of Colombia, which has a population similar to that of Central America but which last year had nearly double the amount of FDI at $15.8 billion, an 18 percent increase over the previous year.

Meanwhile, the region’s northern neighbor, Mexico, performed unimpressively, with foreign investment of only $12.3 billion, a 35 percent decrease for a country whose economy has been heavily hyped in recent months in international media.