PANAMA: Boom town blues

PANAMA: Boom town blues

Panama Economy & Policy Corporate & Sovereign Strategy

By Lucien Chauvin Panama continues to lead Latin America in terms of economic growth. In the first quarter of this year it clocked up GDP expansion of 10.6% year-on-year and the official forecast for 2012 is firmly in double digits. Growth through the end of much March was a full point above the final quarter in 2011 and has helped the country register the lowest unemployment rate in the region, 4.5%, and a surge in trade. Exports at the Colon Free Zone, which represent the bulk of exports, were $4.1 billion in the first quarter of the year, $1 billion more than the same period last year. Total exports in 2011 were $13.2 billion. Inflation was 6.1% in 2011 and stood at 6% through May –

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