Panama Economic Activity


Economic activity inches down in September as Panama Canal expansion nears completion

In September, the monthly indicator for economic activity (IMAE, Indice Mensual de Actividad Economica) expanded 3.8% over the same month last year, which was just below the 4.1% growth tallied in August (previously reported: +3.8% year-on-year). According to the National Comptroller’s Office, the increase in September was driven by growth in several sectors of the economy, including transport, warehousing and communications, mining and quarrying, and financial intermediation. Meanwhile, although the Panama Canal expansion project is nearing completion, the construction sector showed positive growth due to activity related to the public and private sectors. The overall deceleration in September was due to a slower pace of expansion in the other sectors of the economy, in addition to a contraction in manufacturing and commerce.

On a month-on-month basis, economic activity in September increased 0.68% in seasonally-adjusted terms, which was down from the 0.72% increase recorded in August. Meanwhile, the overall trend inched down; annual average growth in economic activity in September was 4.5% versus August’s 4.6%. September’s reading is the weakest expansion since December 2010.

The National Comptroller’s Office revised their methodology for calculating national accounts and changed the base year to 2007 in October 2015. Historical data for national accounts shown in this report reflect the change in base year. Some forecasts may not yet reflect this change.

FocusEconomics Consensus Forecast panelists project that the economy will grow 6.1% in 2015, which is unchanged from last month’s forecast. The panel expects GDP to expand 6.4% in 2016, which is up 0.1 percentage points from last month’s forecast.

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Panama Economic Activity Chart

Panama Economic Activity September 2015

Note: Year-on-year changes and annual average variation of trend-cycle economic activity in %.
Source: National Comptroller’s Office and FocusEconomics calculations.

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