November 1, 2006
Linking up the individually marginal but collectively important markets from Panama to Guatemala via the Dominican Republic has found many fans, but also powerful detractors. Besides the DR-CAFTA trade pact with the US, Siepac power line and Panama Canal expansion, recent financial sector deals in the region have made investors take note of this grouping of small, poor and vulnerable economies. Scotiabank's $330 million acquisition of Costa Rican bank Interfin, HSBC's $1.8 billion Banistmo buy in Panama and Citigroup's purchase of Grupo Financiero Uno have raised the region's profile in the global financial system.
"We're seeing more interest from investors and they are taking a look at Cen
Regional integration in Central America is gradually taking place. The benefits of critical mass and links to the US are clear, but not everyone is convinced.