In the News from Panama

Positive Signs for Panama Economy

Economic analysts continue to point to Panama as the country most likely to quickly bounce back from the pandemic slowdown.

A recent report from the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) predicts Panama’s economy will grow by 8.2 percent in 2022, the highest in the region. The final numbers for 2021 will show Panama’s GDP jumped 12%, based on the strong fundamentals led by the Panama Canal and the logistics industry.

Overall, Latin America will show a 5.9% growth for 2021, but the region will likely slow to 2.9% in 2022, a sharp contrast to the predicted strength in Panama.

The biggest limitation for many countries in the region is the lack of investment by the government, Alicia Bárcenas, executive secretary of the group, told reporters. But Panama is the exception, with an array of capital improvements scheduled to continue in the years ahead, including the expansion of the Panama metro.

In recent weeks, even as the pandemic flares again, there have been signs pointing to the continued strength of Panama’s economy. For example, minister of commerce and industries Ramón Martínez told El capital Financiero that exports should set a new record in 2022, with a wide array of trade agreements in place around the world.

Another element that continues to have a strong impact on the economy is the continued success of the Panama Multinational Companies Headquarters program set up to encourage the establishment of multinational company headquarters (SEM). The SEM program attracted another 18 companies last year, providing a direct boost to local business, Martinez said  

Last year, the agency reported that more than 170 companies have established headquarters in Panama City under the SEM guidelines. The multinational headquarters are a direct driver for the Panama real estate market, providing a steady stream of renters for Punta Pacifica Realty’s property management department, as well as a base of future buyers. 

Another program with direct benefits for the property manager is also providing dividends, the ministry reports. The Permanent Residence program for Qualified Investors has issued 50 certificates for a total of $ 27.8 million.

Meanwhile, in other economic news, the International Promotion Fund (Promtur) announced it has 90 active applications for conventions and other events for the new Panama Convention center. With 17 conventions scheduled for 2022 and more on the horizon, the long-awaited convention center is finally ready to boost the tourism sector.