Panama: Economic growth remains impressive in 2012
March 1, 2013
In the fourth quarter, the economy expanded 10.0% over the same quarter the previous year, which was slightly below the 10.5% rise registered in the third quarter. In the full year 2012, the economy expanded 10.7% , which is virtually unchanged from the 10.8% increase registered in 2011, making Panama the fastest growing economy in Central America.
The strong quarterly figure continued to reflect robust growth in the services sector (Q3 2012: +11.2% year-on-year; Q4: +10.1% yoy), which is the largest component of Panama's economy. Within services, construction surged 30.4% in the fourth quarter (Q3: +30.6% yoy), while growth in transport, storage and communications - which accounts for a quarter of total economic output - reached 9.2%, slightly down from the 10.2% expansion recorded in Q3.
Meanwhile, industry expanded 9.7% in Q4, down from the 10.0% increase recorded in Q3. Moreover, the agricultural sector improved significantly in the fourth quarter, growing 14.6% (Q3: +5.7% yoy).
The government expects economic growth to decelerate to 8.5% in 2013. FocusEconomics Consensus Forecast panellists project the economy to grow 7.4% this year, which is unchanged from last month forecast. For 2014, the panel expects GDP to expand 6.6%.