Panama: stable and growing economy

by PLP / April 11, 2018

Panama´s economy has been one of the most stable and fastest growing in the last ten years, placing it among the 50 most competitive economies in the world according to the 2016-2017 Global Competitiveness Report publishedby the World Economic Forum (WEF).

Thanks to the activities of transport, storage and communications, construction, exploitation of mines and quarries as well as the traffic generated by the expansion of the Canal and the impulse by the private sector and foreign investments, Panama hopes that the high development of the nation will continue among the highest in Latin America.

According to official figures from The World Bank of Panama, the average annual growth was 7.2% between 2001 and 2013, more than twice the average for the region. The Panamanian economy grew 6.1% in 2014, decreasing slightly to 5.8% and 4.8% in 2015 and 2016, respectively.



Up to November 2017, the economy of Panama grew by 5.3%. According to the report presented by the Institute of Statistics and Census (INEC), published by the Comptroller of the Republic, the categories that presented a favorable performance were: transport, storage and communications (including the canals, ports and aviation), mining and quarries, construction, electricity, water and public administration.


The annual National Urban CPI for 2016-17 showed a variation of 0.9%

The annual National Urban CPI recorded an inter-annual variation of 0.5%

The CPI in the rest of the city reflected an inter-annual variation of 0.9%

The CPI in the districts of Panama and San Miguelito presented an inter-annual variation of 0.5%

The National Urban CPI is 104.5


Behavior of the Panamanian economy measured by the Quarterly Gross Domestic Product (GDPT)

From January to September 2017, the GDPT reached an increase of 5.6%, valued at 2007 prices (in chained volume measurements), recording an estimate amount of USD 29,724.4 million for the semester, which corresponded to an increase of USD 1,567.6 millions compared to the same period in 2016.

The following activities showed a good performance during the period of January to September 2017:

  • Trade
  • The construction industry
  • Transport and communications
  • Financial intermediation
  • Real estate and business activities
  • Government services

In the following table, we highlight increase in GDPT for different productive activities ordered according to their impact on the economy as published by the General Controller: 

Productive Activities Variation of GDPT during January-November 2017
Wholesale and retail trade, repair of motor vehicles, motorcycles, personal effects and household goods.  Increase of 2.8%
Construction Increase of 9.2%
Transportation, storage and communications. Increase of 11.8%
Real estate, business and rental activities Increase of  3.7%
Financial intermediation Increase of  4.4%
Government Increase of 10.4%
Manufacturing industries Increase of 1.5% 
Supply of electricity, water and gas Increase of 3.1%
Exploitation of mines and quarries Increase of 9.2%


Panama has managed to position itself as one of the fastest growing countries in Latin America. The strategic development plan of the Government is based on boosting productivity and diversifying growth, improving the quality of life, strengthening human capital, developing infrastructure and support the sustainability of the environment.

To learn more about the country and its efforts to promote competitiveness and increase foreign investment, we recommend you read our blog post Special Economic Zones in Panama .

If you are interested in establishing or expanding your industrial operations in Panama, don´t hesitate to contact us by clicking on the button below.


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