Panama: Economic activity slows in March
May 24, 2011
In March, the economy expanded 4.1% over the same month last year, according to the monthly indicator of economic activity (IMAE, indice Mensual de Actividad Economica). The reading was well below the 9.9% increase observed in February and represented the slowest rate of expansion in economic activity since January 2010. That said, the result was mainly attributed to the unfavourable base effect of March 2010, when the economy expanded 8.5%. On a monthly basis, economic activity rose 0.78% over the previous month in seasonally adjusted terms, only moderately below February's 0.87% month-on-month increase. As a result of weaker annual expansion, the trend slipped off its upward trajectory, falling for the first time since November 2009. Accordingly, annual average growth in economic activity fell from 7.0% in February to 6.6% in March. That said, economic growth should remain strong going forward, fuelled by ongoing investment in a project to double the capacity of the Panama Canal by 2014.