The end of 2018 left a rather enigmatic picture of PR’s economy as most indices performed well in Q4 with the notable exception of the key leading indicator. It looks as if the accumulation of delays in the disbursements of reconstruction funds coupled with continuous decline in the resident population and the pending consequences of the federal government shutdown started in December—including the possibility that funds initially appropriated to PR could be reallocated to finance the President’s wall—simply worsened expectations Island-wide. At the sector level, manufacturing continued to pull its weight on the back of US demand in spite of changes to the tax code whilst banking slowed down slightly. The first $1.5 bn recently disbursed CDBG-DR funds surely bode well for economic activity over the next few quarters. It remains to be seen, however, whether these will be enough to sustain economic growth in the long-term.
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SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO With its crumbling buildings, thick vegetation and scurrying lizards, the blighted lot near Old San Juan would make a great set...