Panama: Inflation rises in February
March 13, 2012
In February, consumer prices added 0.65% over the previous month, which was above the 0.51% increase recorded in January. According to the National Comptroller's Office (Contraloria General de la Republica), although the monthly increase was broad-based, it mainly reflected higher prices for food and beverages, which more than offset lower prices for water, electricity and gas. As a result of the monthly rise, annual headline inflation rose from 6.1% in January to 6.4% in February. Currently, the inflation rate remains well above the country's historically low levels. Panama registered an average inflation rate of 1.3% during the 15 years prior to the price surge, which commenced in May 2007 and peaked at 10.0% in September 2008. In the country's dollarized economy, authorities lack the freedom to use monetary policy or exchange rate adjustments to reduce inflation.