Panama: Growth in economic activity moderates slightly in December
February 21, 2018
The monthly indicator for economic activity (IMAE, Índice Mensual de Actividad Económica) moderated slightly from November’s 4.2% expansion to 4.0% in December, a four-month low. In cumulative terms, economic activity expanded 5.2% annually in the January–December period (January–December 2016: +4.4% year-on-year).
According to the National Comptroller’s Office, December’s print came on the back of expansions in all but one component of the index. Commerce, transportation, warehousing, and communications and construction expanded at the sharpest pace.
Growth in commerce was supported by an increase in wholesale trade and economic activity in the Colon Free Trade Zone, while the expansion in transportation, warehousing and communications, which includes growth in the Panama Canal, ports, and the aviation sector, was driven by increased cargo tonnage in the Panama Canal and Panamanian ports. Financial intermediation, real estate activities and legal services also expanded in December but at a softer pace, while fishing was the only component that declined.
On a month-on-month basis, growth in economic activity came in at 0.1% in December, moderating from November’s 0.6% increase.
Panama GDP Forecast
FocusEconomics Consensus Forecast panelists see the economy growing 5.4% in 2018, which is unchanged from last month’s forecast. The panel expects GDP to expand 5.7% in 2019.