Central America: A Snapshot of the Construction Industry
Thursday, March 18, 2021
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.
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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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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