November 1, 2008
by Andrew Beatty
Swatting aside global economic crisis, Panamas veteran economy minister Hector Alexander in early October bumped up his countrys growth forecast for 2008 to 9.5%. It is a brash stance for a country born globalised, whose leading sectors shipping, commerce, construction and banking make up around 43% of GDP and are inextricably woven into the world economy.
The governments strategy of turning Panama into a regional hub the Singapore of LatAm only increases the exposure. Some 50% of Panamas exports, including trans-shipping, now go to the US. Still Alexander is optimistic. The economy is strong, he
Panama is defiant in the face of the global storm. However, inflation is a problem and its positioning as a hub may end up backfiring.