PANAMA REPORT: Stiff Upper Lip

PANAMA REPORT: Stiff Upper Lip


by Andrew Beatty   Swatting aside global economic crisis, Panama’s veteran economy minister Hector Alexander in early October bumped up his country’s 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 government’s strategy of turning Panama into a regional hub – the Singapore of LatAm – only increases the exposure. Some 50% of Panama’s exports, including trans-shipping, now go to the US. Still Alexander is optimistic. “The economy is strong”, he

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