Panama GDP Q4 2017


Panama: Panama was fastest-growing economy in Central America in 2017, despite GDP growth decelerating in Q4

March 5, 2018

According to data released by the National Comptroller’s Office (Contraloría General de la República), the economy lost steam in the fourth quarter of 2017. Economic growth moderated from 5.4% year-on-year in Q3 to 4.9% in Q4. Despite expanding at the slowest pace since Q3 2016 in the fourth quarter, GDP growth for the full-year 2017 reached 5.4% (2016: 5.0%), making the country the fastest-growing in the Central American region for a second consecutive year.

Q4’s print reflected a moderation in growth in key sectors. Growth in construction declined from 10.5% year-on-year in Q3 to 6.5% in Q4, the slowest rise since Q3 2015. The hotels and restaurants sector plunged from a 3.4% annual increase in Q3 to a paltry 0.4% expansion in Q4, while expansion in financial intermediation decelerated modestly (Q4: +6.4% yoy; Q3: +7.1% yoy). Growth in transportation, warehousing and communications, which includes trade activity in the Panama Canal, ports, and airports, decelerated to 7.0% in the fourth quarter (Q3: +9.9% yoy). Meanwhile, retail and wholesale trade swung from a 0.3% contraction in Q3 to a 3.4% annual rise in Q4, driven by a recovery in trade in the Colón Free Trade Zone, the second largest free-trade zone in the world.

Despite slower growth in Q4, the country’s economic prospects remain bright. Trade-related sectors in 2017 recovered from 2016’s slump, in which domestic economic activity was dragged down by muted global trade. Full-year growth in transportation, warehousing and communication accelerated from a 2.5% expansion in 2016 to a sharp 10.1% increase in 2017. The double-digit increase also reflected for the first time full-year earnings from the expanded Panama Canal, which became operational in June 2016. The strengthening economic recovery in Latin America bodes well for the country’s trade-related sectors, which constitute over 60% of the economy. This, along with ambitious public spending by the government in 2018, should help ensure that Panama remains the fastest-growing economy in the Central American for a third consecutive year.

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 also expects GDP to expand 5.5%.

Author: Jean-Philippe Pourcelot, Economist

Sample Report

Looking for forecasts related to GDP in Panama? Download a sample report now.


Panama GDP Chart

Panama GDP Q4 2017 0

Note: Year-on-year changes of GDP in %.
Source: National Comptroller’s Office and FocusEconomics Consensus Forecast

Panama Economic News

  • Panama: Economic activity picks up in June

    August 21, 2019

    The monthly indicator for economic activity (IMAE, Índice Mensual de Actividad Económica) grew 2.9% over the same month a year prior in June, accelerating from the 2.4% expansion registered in May. Increased economic activity in June was driven by stronger growth in the transport, storage and communications sector—which includes activity in the Panama Canal and national ports.

    Read more

  • Panama: Consumer prices fall at weaker pace in annual terms in July

    August 14, 2019

    Consumer prices rose 0.2% over the previous month in July, contrasting the 0.3% decline registered in June.

    Read more

  • Panama: Economic activity loses traction in May

    July 22, 2019

    The monthly indicator for economic activity (IMAE, Índice Mensual de Actividad Económica) grew 2.4% in annual terms in May, down from the 2.9% expansion logged in April and marking the worst performance since July 2018. Slower economic activity in May was primarily the result of weaker growth in the construction; mining and quarrying; real estate; trade; and hotels and restaurants sectors.

    Read more

  • Panama: Consumer prices fall year-on-year in June

    July 15, 2019

    Consumer prices fell 0.3% over the prior month in June, contrasting the 0.1% increase recorded in May.

    Read more

  • Panama: Economic activity remains feeble in April

    June 21, 2019

    The monthly indicator for economic activity (IMAE, Índice Mensual de Actividad Económica) grew 2.9% year-on-year in April, down from March’s 3.0% and representing the worst print since July 2018. According to Panama’s Comptroller’s Office (Contraloría General de la República), the increase in economic activity in April came on the back of growth in the sectors of transportation, warehousing and communications (which includes activity in the Panama Canal and national ports); water, gas and electricity supply; financial intermediation; construction; and public administration.

    Read more

More news

Search form