Panamanian Economy Grows at 6.1 Percent Clip for First Half of 2010

September 20, 2010

The Panamanian Comptroller’s Office reports that the Panamanian economy accelerated between April and June to arrive at a growth rate of 6.1 percent for the first half of 2010, according to the Central American financial magazine El Economista.

Panama’s gross domestic product (GDP) stood at slightly under $10.01 billion at the end of the semester, $581 million above the figure at the same time a year ago.

The sectors that recorded the best performance were transportation, storage and communications, with a growth of 14 percent; commerce grew at a rate of 10.2 percent, and tourism (hotels and restaurants) grew at a pace of 9.6 percent.

On the negative side, Panama’s fishing industry showed a drop of 18.1 percent, while financial intermediation descended 2.7 percent.

For the second quarter of 2010, the Panamanian economy grew by 6.3 percent compared with the same time period last year.

According to El Economista, Economy and Finance Minister Alberto Vallarino said at a press conference that during the first half of 2010 public investment was below expectations, and during the second half of the year the impact of public investment will be greater. For this reason, he said the Panamanian economy could grow at a clip of 7 percent for the year. He added that he expected the growth rate in 2011 and 2012 to be higher, coinciding with the peak in activities related to the expansion of the Panama Canal.

In November, the Comptroller’s Office will publish a report on the country’s employment, which should reveal to what extent GDP growth is generating new jobs. In August, the unemployment rate was 6.6 percent.

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