In the News from Panama

IMF Predicts Jump in Panama Growth

After a week examining the state of Panama’s economy, a team from the International Money Fund concluded the country’s economy is “dynamic” and growth should surge in 2019.

The IMF predicts Panama’s economy will grow by 6 percent in 2019, which would make it one of the strongest economies in Latin America. That is a significant increase from 2018, when the economy slowed slightly, in part due to “cyclical weakness,” which led the IMF to adjust its estimate of the final growth number for the year to 3.9 percent, which is still better than most countries in the region.

“Panama remains one of the most dynamic growing countries in Latin America,” said IMF representative Alejandro Santos, in a statement.

Despite the slowdown in some areas, there “are clear signs of economic recovery,” including the launch of the Cobre Panama copper mine, which only recently started cranking up operations.

Panama’s “external position is expected to strengthen significantly as the large copper mine starts production this year, and oil prices stay low while remaining well financed by FDI [foreign direct investment],” Santos said in the statement.

While Panama may be impacted by global events, the economic “fundamentals remain solid,” the IMF concluded. And compared to other countries, “the balance of risks to the outlook is tilted to the downside,” with the banking system well capitalized and liquid with a low number of non-performing loans.

Overall, progress on “financial integrity” continues and there are “no overheating pressures in the horizon,” the IMF concluded.