Panama: Economic growth slows in the first quarter
June 14, 2013
In the first quarter, the economy expanded 7.0% over the same quarter last year, which was below the 10.0% rise registered in the last quarter of 2012. In fact, the reading represented the slowest pace of expansion observed in nearly three years.
The deceleration mainly reflected slower growth in the services sector (Q4 2012: +10.1% year-on-year; Q1: +7.6% yoy), which is the largest component of Panama's economy. Within services, construction surged 26.8% (Q4: +30.4% yoy), while growth in transport, storage and communications - which accounts for a quarter of total economic output - reached 6.4%, down from the 9.2% expansion recorded in Q4.
Meanwhile, industry expanded 8.1% in Q1, down from the 9.7% increase recorded in Q4. Moreover, the agricultural sector decelerated from a 14.6% expansion in Q4 to a 5.2% rise in the first.
The government expects economic growth to reach 8.5% in 2013. FocusEconomics Consensus Forecast panellists project the economy to grow 7.8% this year, which is down 0.1 percentage points from last month forecast. For 2014, the panel expects GDP to expand 6.9%.