Panama: GDP growth ticks up in Q1 2015
June 16, 2015
The Panamanian economy expanded 5.9% in Q1 over the same quarter of the previous year. The result came in slightly above the 5.8% growth registered in Q4 2014. The modest improvement shows that despite slowdowns in activity related to the Panama Canal expansion project, other sectors picked up the slack and helped the economy grow. The canal project is more than 90% complete and moving into a testing phase. The upgraded canal is scheduled to be open to traffic by April 2016.
The expansion in Q1 was driven by growth in several areas of the economy, in particular the industrial sector which saw a 10.8% expansion (Q4 2014: +4.6% year-on-year). This expansion was driven in part by a large increase in electricity, gas and water activity, related to the final phase of construction of the canal expansion project. Panama’s important services sector expanded 6.9% (Q4 2014: +7.0% yoy) on the back of strong gains in financial services, transportation, as well as hotels and restaurants. In contrast, the agricultural sector witnessed a mild contraction of 0.4%, although the result was an improvement over the previous quarter’s 4.9% decrease.
Author: Carl Kelly, Economist