Panama: Decline in economic activity softens in March
Economic activity decreased 6.0% year-on-year in March, up from February’s 9.7% decline, as activity likely benefited from the lifting of weekend curfews in several regions and the reopening of some leisure activities on 6 March. March’s result was also supported by a resilient mining subsector thanks to output from the large Cobre Panama copper mine. March’s print marked the best result since March 2020.
Meanwhile, the trend pointed down, with the annual average variation of economic activity coming in at minus 18.7%, down from February’s minus 18.2%.
Looking to Q2, the slight easing of domestic restrictions announced in late April will have bolstered activity from the second half of the month on, notwithstanding a ban on travelers on South America. Meanwhile, robust mining should continue to buttress overall output.
On the broader outlook for this year, analysts at EIU commented:
“A rebound in global activity will support Panama’s recovery; we forecast that real GDP will expand by 11% in 2021, notwithstanding a weak start to the year caused by a second wave of coronavirus cases and a lockdown in January–February (when output fell by 12.2% year on year). Our forecast for a rebound assumes that a steady vaccine rollout will allow activity to pick up and construction and communications to resume after being hit badly last year.”