In-depth country-focused analysis on Guatemala's economic, political and operational risk environment, complemented by detailed sector insight


Our comprehensive assessment of Guatemala's operating environment and the outlook for its leading sectors are formed by bringing together a wealth of data on global markets that affect Guatemala, as well as the latest industry developments that could impact Guatemala's industries. This unique integrated approach has given us an impeccable track-record for predicting important shifts in the markets, ensuring you’re aware of the latest market opportunities and risks in Guatemala before your competitors.

Country Risk

Guatemala Country Risk

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Core Views

  • Belize will post slower growth rates over the next decade than over the previous 20 years, underpinned by our expectation that productivity gains will remain limited. Furthermore, the government will be unable to pursue much-needed reforms in infrastructure and education due to a lack of available funding, further dampening Belize's long-term growth prospects.

  • Belize's current account deficit will remain substantial over the 10-year forecast period due to declining oil production and weakening export growth.

  • Public debt sustainability will remain precarious over the next several years, as Belize's debt load continues to grow. A rising debt burden, combined with a history of defaults, will drive up financing costs and increase rollover risk in the country.

  • Belize will...

Guatemala Country Risk

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External Tailwinds Supporting Regional Underperformers

Core View

Central American outperformers Costa Rica and Panama are facing a more challenging road ahead in the coming years. As real GDP growth slows in Panama on the back of the end of canal construction, establishing fiscal discipline and ensuring adequate employment will be crucial. Should the country fail to rein in spending in an environment of lower growth, this would likely cool investor enthusiasm toward the country. Similarly, Costa Rica is also facing a challenging fiscal outlook - a situation which is only exacerbated by the fragmented political environment.

In contrast, our economic outlook for most of Central America's underperformers is brightening. Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador will benefit from stronger US demand for their manufactured goods, rising remittance...

Guatemala Industry Coverage (10)


Guatemala Agribusiness

BMI View:

BMI View: Central America's agribusiness industry will continue to grow - albeit inconsistently across sectors - through to the end of our forecast period in 2019/20. Along the way, the different sectors of the market will be forced to fight against headwinds that will directly impact output growth across some countries in the region. As a result of rising incomes and growing populations, as well as an improving real GDP outlook for the region, demand will outstrip supply in the livestock and grains sectors...


Guatemala Autos

BMI View:

BMI View: We maintain our view that the Central American autos market in 2016 will continue to be driven by rising private consumption rates due to remittance inflows and a low inflationary environment, but a poor business environment, rising violence and weaker growth in the construction sector will provide headwinds to vehicle sales growth.

Central America - Fleet Size
Historical Data & Forecasts, 2014-2020 (units)
e/f = BMI estimate/forecast. Source: National sources, BMI

Key Views


Food & Drink

Guatemala Food & Drink

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BMI View: Our consumer outlook for the region has brightened in recent quarters, as households benefit from low oil prices (which fuel their real purchasing power) and rising remittances flows from the US. Guatemala and Honduras, which have traditionally been vulnerable to structural macroeconomic weaknesses, will be the outperformers. Rising incomes will fuel growth in the food and drink sector, and the region will look increasingly attractive for food manufacturers as the rest of Latin America experiences a deteriorating consumer outlook and market saturation in the food sector. Thanks to its large and young consumer base, Guatemala will offer the strongest growth opportunities in Central America, while a strong tourism sector will drive premiumisation in Costa Rica.

Headline Industry Data (regional averages)

  • 2015 food consumption (US...


Guatemala Infrastructure

BMI View:

BMI View: We forecast an average of 2.1% real growth for the six construction industries of Central America in 2016. The decline from our forecast for 2015 - 4.4% - is mainly due to a steep drop-off in Panama as it concludes expansion of the Panama Canal and a normalisation of a housing boom in Nicaragua. The region will still offer significant opportunities: the transport sector will see strong growth as development funds target regional...

Guatemala Infrastructure

BMI View:

BMI View: Guatemala's infrastructure industry will slow in 2016 and 2017 as the fallout from the corruption scandal surrounding former president Otto Perez Molina continues to weigh on public sector capacity to implement projects. Growth will remain muted over the long term as Jimmy Morales, the new president, lacks the experience and political support to quickly pass reforms.

Latest Updates

  • We maintain our expectation for construction industry growth to slow - with 1.8% forecast for 2016 - as the fallout from the corruption scandal continues to weigh on institutional capacity and the overall business environment.

  • Our view that the corruption scandal will negatively impact project development is now beginning to play out, with the future of the...


Guatemala Insurance

BMI View:

BMI View: Central America's insurance markets differ significantly in many ways from one another, in terms of scale, development, competition and product composition. Growth rates vary, although most outperform more developed markets despite ongoing structural issues and currency weakness in much of the region. Consolidation would bolster development in many markets, as would innovation in low-cost products, including microinsurance which has a limited presence in Central America.

BMI expects Central American insurance markets to continue to grow rapidly in the coming years. Annual growth rates outside Nicaragua, the region's underperformer, will consistently hit high single-digit rates, with some sectors consistently posting growth rates in excess of 10%. We highlight Costa Rica and El Salvador as markets...

Guatemala Insurance

BMI View:

BMI View: Guatemala's insurance market is developing rapidly, particularly the small life insurance segment. Rising average income rates are boosting the affordability of both life and non-life products, and the range of products available in the market is expanding steadily, supported by growing distribution channels, including bancassurance. Widespread poverty remains a significant hindrance to the growth of the insurance industry, however, and the development of the market is heavily reliant upon wider economic growth and political stability in Guatemala.

Headline Insurance Forecasts (Guatemala 2013-2020)

Pharmaceuticals & Healthcare

Guatemala Pharmaceuticals & Healthcare

BMI View:

BMI View: Legislative and regulatory improvements to the Central American healthcare system will further strengthen sector coordination, enhancing medical efficiencies and treatments over the long-term. The region's ageing population and dependence on pharmaceutical imports will increase foreign investment appeal as public health provision grows.

Headline Expenditure Projections

  • Pharmaceuticals: USD3.7bn in 2014 to USD3.9bn in 2015; +4.6%. Our forecast has been maintained since Q115.

  • Healthcare: USD16.5bn in 2014 to...

Guatemala Pharmaceuticals & Healthcare

BMI View:

BMI View: Due to its small market size and low per capita pharmaceutical spending, the Guatemalan pharmaceutical market will continue to attract limited multinational drugmaker investment in 2016. Generic drugmakers in Latin America will continue to dominate the local market in the short-to-medium term.

Headline Expenditure Projections

Pharmaceuticals: GTQ7.5bn (USD980mn) in 2015 to GTQ8.2bn (USD1.1bn) in 2016; +9.1% in local currency terms and +7.8% in US dollar terms. Forecast has been increased from Q216 due to new historical data.

Healthcare: GTQ19.8bn (USD2.6bn) in...


Guatemala Telecommunications

BMI View:

BMI View: Number portability will encourage increased competition as four out of eight Central American countries have introduced it already. For further competition to be increased, the progress of this depends on national commitments of these countries. We anticipate slower growth in the mobile sector across the board with Nicaragua offering real potential. Nicaragua offers real growth potential whereas increasing government meddling, as in the case of Guatemala is a worrisome development. Data-driven 3G/4G services have true potential for growth as the large operators are investing heavily into new infrastructure and technologies for such technological uptakes.

Key Data

  • Number porting in Panama increased 37.4% in 2014, highlighting that the population is increasingly more willing to take advantage of better available deals as they...

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