The International Monetary Fund expects Panama’s economy to grow by more than 6 percent this year, which would once again rank it among the fastest expanding economies in the world.
In 2015, Panama’s economy grew by 5.8 percent, which was the envy of many economic powerhouses around the world. But that was still the slowest growth for Panama in five years, after several years of double-digit growth.
This year, Panama’s business market will grow at a faster rate than last year, due to investments in energy, infrastructure and logistics, in addition to the expansion of the Panama Canal, the IMF predicts. An expansion of six to seven percent will be a sharp contrast to the global economy, which is expected to grow only 3.4 percent in 2016 and 3.6 percent in 2017.
Panama’s strong economic fundamentals, low inflation rate and stable financial system should make it resilient against the factor impacting the rest of the world, IMF division chief for Latin America and Caribbean Valerie Cerra told reporters. “While uncertainty in the external environment entails risks, Panama has strong defenses to counter any negative external shocks that may arise,” Cerra said.
Panama’s growth comes at a time when many economies are still struggling. The United States is expected to grow at closer to 2.6 percent in the next year. Most mature markets in Europe and Europe are growing somewhere between 1.5 and 2.5 percent. In Latin America, Brazil’s economy is flat and Mexico’s economy is expected to expand by a slight 2.6 percent.
Jeff Barton is managing director of Punta Pacifica Realty, a Panama real estate agency focused on Punta Pacifica, the exclusive neighborhood of 18 towers perched on the edge of the Pacific Ocean.