Guatemala: GDP growth improves in the first quarter
GDP growth sped up to 3.7% year on year in the first quarter of 2023, from 3.5% in the fourth quarter of last year.
Domestically, the upturn was broad-based: Private consumption growth accelerated somewhat to 3.1% year on year in Q1 from a 2.9% expansion in Q4. The improvement was explained by higher employment and income, together with stronger remittances and household credit growth. Government consumption sped up to a 10.8% increase in Q1 (Q4 2022: +10.2% yoy) due to higher wage-related expenses. Lastly, fixed investment growth improved to 6.4% in Q1, from the 6.3% expansion recorded in the previous quarter, resulting from higher capital goods imports and increased non-residential buildings construction.
On the external front, exports of goods and services grew 2.0% year on year in Q1—matching Q4’s increase. Meanwhile, imports of goods and services declined at a milder pace of 0.7% in Q1 (Q4 2022: -3.1% yoy).
The economy is expected to cool in Q2 from the previous quarter, as signaled by weaker economic activity in April–May. On the positive side, strong remittances and lower inflation in Q2 than in the prior three months should have supported household consumption.