Panama: Economy picks up speed in third quarter
December 15, 2010
In the third quarter, GDP increased 8.4% over the same quarter last year. The expansion represented an improvement over the 7.1% rise recorded in the second quarter (previously reported: +6.3% year-on-year). The acceleration over the previous period was the result of improvements in both the industrial and services sectors. Industry benefited from a pick-up in manufacturing, which expanded 1.3%, contrasting the 0.2% contraction registered in the previous quarter. Consequently, the industrial sector accelerated slightly from a 2.8% expansion in the second quarter to 2.9%. Meanwhile, the services sector grew 11.4% in the third quarter, up from a 9.3% expansion in the second quarter. The acceleration in services was driven by a 16.4% expansion in transport and logistics (Q2: +15.3% yoy). Finally, growth in the primary sector decelerated sharply from a 4.6% fall observed in the previous period to the 14.4% contraction observed in the third quarter. Most notably, a low catch of commercial species saw fishing contract 40.7% year-on-year, down from the 15.7% decline recorded in the second quarter. However, agriculture improved over the third quarter and added 5.7% (Q2: +1.9% yoy). More recent data confirm the strength of the economy. In October, economic activity rose a robust 5.7% over the same month last year, according to the monthly indicator of economic activity (IMAE, indice Mensual de Actividad Economica). The increase followed the 8.5% expansion registered in September (previously reported: +8.1% year-on-year). The Panamanian government estimates the economy to have grown 7% in 2010.