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CEPAL Review

Cepal Review is the leading journal for the study of economic and social development issues in Latin America and the Caribbean. Edited by the Economic Commission for Latin America, each issue focuses on economic trends, industrialization, income distribution, technological development and monetary systems, as well as the implementation of economic reform and transfer of technology. Written in English and Spanish (Revista de la Cepal), each tri-annual issue offers approximately 12 studies and essays undertaken by authoritative experts or gathered from conference proceedings.

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Public debt sustainability in the northern countries of Latin America

An analysis of public debt indicators in eight northern countries of Latin America reveals that Nicaragua and Honduras are the most vulnerable; Panama, the Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, and El Salvador are moderately vulnerable; while Mexico and Guatemala have debt levels that are not considered dangerous. Nonetheless, a subsequent review of four indicators of fiscal sustainability shows only Mexico to be well positioned under all criteria; Costa Rica and Guatemala display a number of minor problems, while various special circumstances explain the favourable results obtained by Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic; and El Salvador, Honduras and Panama will be unable to sustain their 2004 fiscal policy for very long. Lastly, analysis of the sensitivity of the debt to a “sudden stop” in foreign capital inflows suggests the need for a cautious attitude towards the future trend of the public debt in the face of rising international interest rates.

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