- Presidencia de Panamá
Panama's economy grew by 3.7 percent in the first half of this year, compared to the same period in 2017, driven by transport, financial intermediation and trade sectors, according to data from the National Institute of Statistics and Census (Inec) released today.
The growth shows a clear slowdown compared to the rate of 5.8 percent of the first half of 2017, a behavior that has been attributed to a slowdown in key sectors, including construction, which experienced a one-month strike for wage claims between last April and May.
An International Monetary Fund (IMF) mission said last October in the Panamanian capital it estimated that the Panamanian gross domestic product (GDP) would expand by 3.7 percent in the first half of this year.
The multilateral institution added in a preliminary report, after undertaking a visit to the country, that "despite the temporary slowdown in 2018, the economy is on track for a rebound in the short term and will remain among the most dynamic economies in Latin America."
Panama’s Inec stated that the highest accumulated growth in the first semester was recorded by fishing (15.2 percent); transport, storage and communications (7.3 percent); wholesale and retail trade (3.9 percent); financial intermediation (3.9 percent); agriculture, livestock, hunting and forestry (3.7 percent); electricity, gas and water (3.3 percent); and real estate activities (3 percent).
Construction grew 2 percent; mine and quarry exploitation by 2 percent, and the manufacturing industry by 1.6 percent, while hotel and restaurant sector recorded a contraction (-3.2 percent) and taxes on net products of subsidies (-2.7 percent).
Inec said that GDP expanded by 3.1 percent in the second quarter of this year, compared to the same period of 2017, and registered an amount of 10,084.3 million dollars.
Between April and July, the activities related to domestic economy that had a positive performance were transportation and communications; financial intermediation; trade; government services; health and education.
Meanwhile, the external activities that showed increases in the second quarter are the Panama Canal, the Colon Free Zone trade, air transport and fishing.
On the other hand, the negative trends in the second quarter were shown in construction; mining and quarries; hotels and restaurants, and agriculture.
The Panamanian government said last July that this year's growth forecast is around 4.5 percent, below 5.4 percent in 2017, while business associations have estimated GDP growth for this 2018 around 4 percent.