The profit of the International Banking Center (CBI) of Panama increased at least 390 million dollars, or 19.1 percent, in the first two months of 2018, compared to the same period of 2017 (327 million), despite the fact that the asset level fell by 1.9 percent, an official source reported today.
The Superintendency of Banks of Panama (SBP) reported that "this result is attributed to the ability to generate profits measured through operational income, which continues to reflect a positive growth trend."
This is "characterized by the capture of local deposits of individuals, and a sustained growth of the domestic credit portfolio destined to the private sector that increased 6.7 percent, when compared with similar period of the previous year".
It highlighted that the performance of the domestic credit portfolio was driven by sectors associated with personal banking products, especially in the mortgage (7.8 percent) and personal loans (10.7 percent) sectors.
The interim construction financing "reflected growth due to the fact that disbursements continue to be generated in the commercial construction and development projects of the residential construction market," it said.
"This good performance resulted in the Balance and Income Statement of the CBI (almost a hundred international and national banks) registering a total of assets of 118,083 million dollars", 1.9 percent less.
The drop with respect to the same period of 2017 is of 2.34 million dollars, "in response to the reduction of the external loan portfolio, by a more conservative position in markets and customers with greater credit risk".
In this process, it explained, "the lowest level has also affected the liquid placements of the external component, due to the redirection of resources in search of more profitable operations, a strategy that has allowed banks to improve their levels of profitability, without compromising the financial health of the CBI".
It is proven by the results of the CBI at the end of last February, which "shows that the banks maintain robust indicators of financial soundness, mainly those of legal liquidity (57.7 percent) and solvency (16.1 percent), in almost twice the minimum required by regulation".
The report adds that the national economic activity measured through the Monthly Index of Economic Activity (IMAE) reflects an increase of 3.8 percent for the first two months of the year, compared to the same period of 2017.
"Certain economic sectors related to domestic demand show a better performance as in the case of commercial activity and certain branches related to the chicken and beef and pork processing industry," as well as "exporting sectors of services such as case of the port sector".
But it qualifies that "some export sectors of services related to tourism and cargo transit through the Panama Canal reflect a more moderate dynamic".
Consumer prices in Panama remain stable with a slight growth of 0.4 percent in February compared to the same month last year.
The groups that showed increases in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) last February compared to January 2018 were education (3.4 percent); restaurants and hotels (0.8); furniture, household items and ordinary household staples (0.7 percent), among others.