Panama: Consumer prices flat in March
April 13, 2015
In March, consumer prices increased 0.89% over the previous month, which contrasted the 0.78% decrease recorded in January and marked the highest increase in almost four years. According to the National Comptroller’s Office (Contraloria General de la Republica), the monthly increase in March was driven by higher prices for communications, transport, and hotels and restaurants. Price pressures in the food and beverages category continue to be kept in check by the price control system for basic products that President Juan Carlos Varela introduced in July last year.
Annual consumer prices picked up from a 0.4% decrease in February, which marked a multi-year low, to a flat reading in March. The price control system and falling oil prices are keeping inflation at historically-low levels. Due to the country’s dollarized economy, authorities lack the freedom to use monetary policy or exchange rate adjustments to influence inflation.
Author: Carl Kelly, Economist