Panama: Economic growth expands at fastest pace in almost three years
June 15, 2011
The economy continues to gain momentum, as economic growth reached 9.7% over the same quarter the year before, which represented a strengthening over the 8.7% rise registered in the fourth quarter. In fact, the pace of economic expansion was the fastest since Q2 2008 when economic growth reached its pre-crisis peak of 13.1%. The acceleration over the previous period mainly reflected a healthy performance in the tertiary sector, which benefited from buoyant growth in transport and logistics as well as construction. Transport and logistics picked up from 14.5% in Q4 to 16.0% in Q1, while construction accelerated to 15.6% in the first quarter (Q4: +10.9% yoy). On the other hand, growth in commerce slowed in the first quarter and added 9.5% (Q4: +12.0% yoy). As a result, the services sector expanded 11.9% in the first quarter following an 11.3% rise recorded in the fourth. Meanwhile, industry added 5.4% in the first quarter, up from a 4.2% increase in Q4 and continued to be buttressed by manufacturing (Q4: +1.5% yoy; Q1: +3.2% yoy). Finally, the primary sector remained in negative territory for a fifth consecutive quarter, contracting 7.4% year-on-year (Q4: -19.8% yoy). The government expects the economy to grow 9.0% in 2011 and 7.0% in 2012.