Panama Economic Activity January 2018


Panama: Growth in economic activity picks up steam in January

March 19, 2018

The monthly indicator for economic activity (IMAE, Índice Mensual de Actividad Económica) accelerated slightly from 4.0% year-on-year growth in December to 4.6% in January, a five-month high.

According to the National Comptroller’s Office (Contraloría General de la República), January’s print was supported by an across-the-board increase in all components of the index. Commerce; transportation, warehousing and communications, which includes growth in the Panama Canal ports and the aviation sector; and construction were the categories that expanded at the sharpest paces.

The expansion in the commercial sector was driven by an increase in retail and wholesale trade in the Colón Free Trade Zone, while growth in transportation, warehousing and communications was supported by higher cargo tonnage in the Panama Canal and port system. The construction sector continued to benefit from ongoing public infrastructure investment in the country. Lastly, annual average growth in economic activity came in at 5.2% in January, matching the print observed in December.

On a month-on-month basis, growth in economic activity edged up from a 0.1% rise in December to 0.4% in January.

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.

Author: Jean-Philippe Pourcelot, Economist

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Panama Economic Activity Chart

Panama Economic Activity January 2018

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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