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Panama's Economy and Exports - Expanding and Contracting, But Generally More Up Than Down

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You can see the economy at work everywhere throughout Panama -- construction, traffic congestion, parking problems, seemingly unending residential development and shopping mall projects, and lots of customers in the busy stores. This topic needs to be read in conjunction with other topics, such as automobile sales in Panama (see http://www.chiriqui.life/topic/3250-panama-vehicle-sales-continue-climb), Tocumen Airport traffic and revenue (see http://www.chiriqui.life/topic/4195-tocumen-airport-traffic-and-revenue-increasing-and-expansion-plans), the Canal, tourism, the trade war with Colombia, etc., etc.


Panama economy expands 4.8 pct in third quarter of 2016 yr/yr

Dec 16 Panama's economy grew 4.8 percent during the third quarter, compared to the year-earlier period, the government said on Friday.

Growth was driven by financial intermediation, construction, and utilities, though operations slowed in the Panama Canal and the country's ports.

In October, the government changed its forecast for the year to 5.6 percent from 6 percent, due to weak global trade.

(Reporting by Elida Moreno)


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Panama exports fall for third year


EXPORTS  fell for the third consecutive year in 2016, says a recent report by Panama’s Comptroller General.

The decline  has meant an economic loss of 25%,over three years.

According to official figures, the economic value of Panamanian exports fell by 3.1% in 2014, by 14.9% in 2015 and fell by 8.5% in 2016.

In 2013, exports amounted to $843.7 million and in 2016 they were at just $636.1 million.

The figures provided by  the Comptroller in 2016, the fall off was across the board: bananas (-7.4%), melon (-20.1%), pineapple (-34.9%), beef cattle (-24.4%).

Exports of shrimp (-2.2%), skins and leather (-44.9%) and oil products (-12%) .

On the other hand, exports of watermelon, increased by 10.7%, other sea products (up 39.4%), unrefined sugar (54.6%) and fishmeal and fish oil (10.3%)

Exports of coffee (49.7%) and clothing (1.3%) also showed positive results.

In recent declarations, Augusto Arosemena of the Ministry of Economy and Finance (MICI), , accepted that there is a fall in the sector, but predicted that better times would come.

According to Arosemena, the banana zones in the provinces of Chiriquí and Bocas del Toro will benefit after the Cabinet Council approved a  Law Contract that will allow a subsidiary of the transnational fruit company Del Monte to invest more than $100 million in Banana production and which is expected to generate approximately 3,100 direct jobs and consequent generation of 12,000 indirect jobs in commerce and services.


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Panama economy on track for 5.8% growth


PANAMA’S  ECONOMY  is forecast to grow 5.8% in 2017, the envy of much of the world says  the Ministry of Economy and Finance (MEF).

The Ministry  reported that the country’s economic growth (GDP) estimate is  driven by dynamism  in construction, mining and quarrying,  financial services   and electricity, gas and water supply.

Raul Moreira, director of Economic and Social Analysis of the MEF, said  at a Monday  Feb 20 press conference that MEF’s estimate  matches  the forecast of the IMF  that puts it at 5.8%. The Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) projected growth of y 5.9% and the World Bank  5.4%.

The MEF’s estimate of economic growth in the country is also based on the recovery of the Panama Canal activity and an aggressive public and private investment program.

The Ministry included as a basis for its forecast a recovery of the economies of Latin America. In this scenario, the Panamanian economy will continue to exceed the growth rate of the Latin American average, estimated by ECLAC at 1.3%.

The continuation of public investment projects such as the Fourth  Bridge over the Canal ($570 million) and the construction of the Metro Line 2 of the capital will help the dynamism of the economy.

In the private sector, projects such as the First Generation Power Plant based on natural gas (Colón), with an investment of $1.15 billion and the $5,95 billion. By Minera Panamá, in the Cobre Panamá  project (Colón) In addition.

Moreira, said that in the coming months Panama will continue to increase energy generation with renewable sources (wind and solar) lowering costs in the use of fossil fuels, which will contribute added  value, to the national electricity system.

Moreira sais that it is important that the Panamanian economy maintains its sustained growth and with low levels of inflation for the benefit of the lower income sectors.



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