Panama: Growth accelerates slightly in Q3
December 15, 2017
According to data released by the National Comptroller’s Office (Contraloría General de la República) on 15 December, in year-on-year terms the economy grew 5.4% in Q3, a slight improvement from Q2’s 5.2% growth, and the second-best performance since the beginning of 2016. The strong showing leaves the country on track to achieving the highest growth rate in Central America in 2017.
Q3’s year-on-year expansion was driven primarily by an acceleration of growth in the industrial and service sectors. On the other hand, the agricultural sector contracted for the tenth time in 11 quarters (Q3: -1.2% year-on-year), following a short-lived expansion in Q2 (+4.7% yoy). Growth in services picked up to 5.4% from the same quarter last year (Q2: +3.8% yoy), while the industrial sector expanded 7.5% in Q3, after growing 7.2% in Q2.
The acceleration in growth in the service sector resulted mainly from faster growth in the financial and real estate industries, which more than compensated for a contraction of activity in wholesale trade, as well as a lower pace of growth in transportation, warehousing and communications. Growth in the industrial sector was boosted by an acceleration of activity in the utilities and manufacturing industries. Finally, a contraction in the agricultural sector was driven by a large decline of activity in fisheries.
Panama GDP Forecast
FocusEconomics Consensus Forecast panelists project that the economy will grow 5.5% in 2018, which is up 0.1 percentage points from last month’s forecast. For 2019, the panel expects GDP to expand 5.5%, which is down 0.1 percentage points from last month’s forecast.
Author: Joffrey Simonet, Economist