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The monthly economic activity index (IMAE) of Panama grew by 3.77 % between last January and April, compared to the same period in 2017, one of the lowest results in recent years according to data from the National Institute of Statistics and Census (Inec) released.
The variation of the IMAE in January was 4.6 %, in February it was 3.10 %, in March it was 2.86 % and in April it was 4.64 %, said an Inec report.
Thus, the cumulative variation of the indicator in the four-month period was 3.77 %, the lowest in recent years, followed by 4.08 % in the same period of 2016.
The categories of economic activity that registered a positive performance in the first quarter of this year were trade, transport, storage and communications, public administration, fishing and electricity and water.
"Commercial activity, one of the categories with greater weight in the economy, was boosted by the demand for local trade and the Colon Free Zone," said the Inec.
It added that the category of transport and communications services that showed a favorable behavior were those of the Panama Canal, international passenger transport by air and telecommunications, while electricity and water supply was positive by the largest generation of hydraulic and solar renewable energy.
The official statistics agency added that "some activities that showed a negative impact, were the construction and exploitation of mines and quarries."
The IMAE is an economic indicator that allows us to approximate the path of economic growth in the country, said the statistics agency.
Panama's economy grew by 5.4 % of the gross domestic product (GDP) in 2017, up from 5 % the previous year, boosted by activities related to the external sector such as the interoceanic canal and air and financial services.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) estimates Panama's GDP growth of around 4.6 percent for this year and around 6.8 percent by 2019.