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Panama leads in attracting investment: ECLAC

Thursday, October 30, 2014


Panama leads all Latin American countries in attracting direct foreign investment, according to a report by the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean.

In Central America, only Panama and Guatemala saw FDI growth in during the first six months of the year, while investment in Latin America as a whole dropped 23 percent to $84 billion compared with the same period last year, partly due to a slowdown in the resource sector.

Panama received $2.6 billion in the first half of the year, up 26 percent from the $2.1 billion from the same period in 2013.

Guatemala registered $713 million, up slightly from $693 million in the first half of 2013.

Costa Rica saw a decline of 21 percent to $1.1 billion.

The biggest decline in the region was in El Salvador, where FDI fell to $25 million in the first semester, a 67 percent drop compared with the $76 million from the same period in 2013.

Among the challenges for El Salvador in attracting investment are a chronically high crime level and a lack of economic counselors at its embassies abroad.

Foreign investment to Mexico also plunged, in this case by 66 percent to $9.8 billion, down from the $28.7 billion.

However, 2013 was an unusual year for Mexico, as the purchase of the Modelo brewery by Belgium-based Anheuser-Busch InBev for $13.2 billion represented an exceptional FDI boost.

Colombia, with $8.5 billion, saw growth of 10 percent compared with the same period a year earlier.