Panama: Economy slows in 2013 but remains fastest growing in the region
April 1, 2014
According to data released by the National Comptroller's Office, GDP increased 8.4% in the full year 2013. The result was down from the 10.2% increase registered in 2012, although Panama remained the fastest expanding economy in Central America.
The industrial sector marked the best performance (2012: +13.9% year-on-year; 2013: +19.0% yoy), driven by a 31.4% surge in mining and quarrying and a 30.5% increase in construction. Strong results in these subsectors were related in large part to important infrastructure projects, including the expansion of the Panama Canal and the building of a metro transport system in Panama City. Meanwhile, growth in the services sector slowed to a 6.0% increase, down from 9.8% in 2012. Similarly, the agricultural sector slowed to a 3.5% rise after growing 4.7% in 2012.
Based on the annual figures, the economy grew 9.7% over the same quarter of the previous year in Q4 2013, which, if confirmed, would mark an acceleration over the 9.0% growth recorded in the previous quarter.
The government expects economic growth to reach 7.0% in 2014 and 6.5% in 2015. FocusEconomics Consensus Forecast panelists project that the economy will grow 6.9% in 2014, which is unchanged from last month forecast. For 2015, the panel expects GDP to expand 6.0%.
Author: Carl Kelly, Economist