Gross Domestic Product

The evolution of the Panamanian economy in recent years has been very dynamic, growth has been much lower compared to the rates in 2000, 2001 and 2002. The GDP rate has reached 10.6%, 10.2% and 8.4% for the number of years 2011 to 2013 respectively, standing out as one of the fastest growing nations in Latin America and worldwide.

The drivers of this dynamic economic growth have been construction, wholesale and retail trade, the Colon Free Trade Zone, restaurants and hotels, transportation (including the Panama Canal, the container transshipment ports, railroads, air transport and domestic passengers and cargo transportation), communications, financial intermediation and real estate activities.

In general most of the economic activities showed positive levels of evolution for the year under review.

Among the activities are presented more dynamic domestic related, such as construction, mining, financial services, land transport and telecommunications, real estate activities and the restaurants and hotels demand.

In the external economy fisheries, air travel was highlighted. Meanwhile, trading activity was affected by the situation of the Colon Free Zone; however there was a positive performance in the wholesale local trade and primarily retail.

Inflation rate was 4.0% had the source production costs and temporary shortages of some foods and metal ores.

The Financial intermediation grew by 9.6 percent, for the good performance of the International Banking Center mainly for financial services, complemented by increased commissions earned and other income.

The insurance business showed good growth influenced by the raw, mainly in the fields of life, health and automobiles; also, the value generated by insurance brokers increased significantly.

Transportation and Colon Free Trade Zone


After the Torrijos-Carter Treaties completion, on December 31, 1999, the transportation sector and the Colon Free Trade Zone have undergone a fast growth due to their consolidation as a main part of the cluster of multi-modal transportation services that serves the world maritime trade. This cluster is basically made up by the Panama Canal, containers transshipment ports, interoceanic railway, bunker supply, the supply of goods to ships in transit through the Canal, legal services, financial intermediation services and the Colon Free Zone.

The Panama Canal will be widened so that Post-Panamax ships can cross it. More than 5.2 billion dollars will be spent in this widening. With such investment, the cluster will be strengthened even more with also important investments.

After undergoing an important fall in 2001 and 2002, as a consequence of the world trade decrease, the Panama Canal has increased its cargo volume as well as its incomes.

During 2013 as a whole, the sector of transport, storage and telecommunications increased by 6.1 percent, mainly driven by the activities of telecommunications, air transport and the transport of passengers and freight by road.

Air transport recorded good growth, the highest passenger movement in the Tocumen International Airport and the inclusion of new destinations on its flights.

Port services showed decrease attributable to the low loads TEU’sa bulk containers and general cargo, the effect of slower growth in external demand.

Meanwhile, the operations of the Panama Canal had a fall equally given the lower tonnage transported by low ship transits high and low draft, affected by the temporary movement of some companies.


As regards the telecommunication sector, the use of celular phones has increased considerably. It is still a developing market, which performance is still similar to that of the traditional business life cycle curve for new products. It is a product highly dependant on the changes in the consumers’ income, that is why it underwent an important standstill in 2001 and 2002, when the economic growth was slow, and a fast growth in the economic boom period in 2003-2007.

During the 2013 Telecommunications increase recorded mainly by demand for mobile contract and prepaid.

Mobile telephony in Panama has 6 million users 297 000 604, while fixed lines totaled 586.298; however, the growth of these in 2013 was higher than that of the mobiles.

According to the indicators of the National Telecommunications National Authority of Public Services (ASEP), fixed lines in 2013 grew 2.9%, while mobile telephony increased 1.35%, compared to 2012 when there were 213 6000000 564 thousand users of mobile and fixed 569.880. However, in the last six years the number of mobile users has grown 60.8%, whereas the fixed lines in operation have increased only 11.8%.

Construction and real estate

In general, the construction industry Tends to grow in the medium and long term, nevertheless, it grows at a rate fluctuating or cyclical. Still, due to the Greater Economic Dynamics, the construction industry has risen to relatively Also During high rates recents years. As a result of this boom, the demand of concrete and Portland cement is Also Increasing rapidly. Due to the fast growing demand’s possible and to the widening of the Canal, concrete manufacturers have already Announced That They Will widen the capacity of Their clinker and concrete manufacturing plants.

By 2013 the construction industry that keeps its dynamics presented a set of 29.8 percent increase, comprising producing construction market, which increased by 30.5 percent and construction for own final use grew 22.2 percent.

The performance shown is the result of the execution of public investment in infrastructure and private investment in residential and non-residential projects, the work done on the Panama Canal expansion, the advance of the construction of the subway line one and other.

Indicators related to the work as the production of cement and concrete behaviors showed very favorable period for the compiled.

Construction focuses on residential and commercial projects, in addition to developing the State megaprojects such as the metro, road realignment and expansion of the Canal, who drive the sector during 2013.

The total value of construction and additions in the country was 1.552 million $ 423,000, while in 2012 was 1.197 million $ 763,000.

Residential projects grew 48.9%, totaling the value of this type of construction and additions 730.3 millions, and exceeded nonresidential, which increased 12%, with a total construction value of 792.2 millions.


From 1998 until 2004, the tourism activity, measured by the daily average of rooms occupied, grew very little. However, the take off of this variable for 2006 and 2007 has been unprecedent, rising from about 2,000 rooms occupied per day to approximately 3,000. The expenditure of tourists have followed the same pattern, from about 600 million dollars in 2003 to about 900 million dollars in 2007.

Panama has become a haven for tourism in Latin America, which in 2013 received 2 million 270 thousand visitors, surpassing the projected figure . By 2014 about 2 million 300 thousand travelers expected

During the period between January and November 2013 , entered by the Tocumen International Airport a total of 1,386,530 visitors, an increase of 2.7 % or 36,538 additional visitors to the previous period .

For seaports have entered a total of 301.149 cruise passengers , an increase of 9.2 % compared to 2012. This is followed by the Paso Canoas border , with a total of 149.929 visitors , an increase of 2.6 % compared the year 2012.

Finally , visitors are admitted for other ports , totaling 113.958 visitors and an increase of 25.6 %, with an absolute change of 23,190 additional visitors .

Although over 12 months of 2013 different flights to different destinations in Europe, as the 7 flights per week from KLM, 3 weekly flights from Air France, Iberia 4 weekly flights , 1 flight of Frankfur were opened Aero Condor , South American customers remain the first Panamanian tourism.

Currently , the Tocumen airport has managed to add 245 frequencies to North America, Central America 136 , 609 to South America and 17 in Europe ; and pass through the airport annually 7 million passengers and tourists from 119 countries of the world do not need visa to visit Panama .

The aggregate overall segment hotels and resturants of the national economy for 2013 , category you showed a growth of 6.1 percent , resulting from the activity of restaurants that grew favorably , as the hotel sector also increased , favored for expenses incurred by the higher number of visitors, transit passengers and cruises , as well as hikers.

Financial and insurance

The International Banking Centre (CBI ) closed 2013 with $ 97.928 million , achieving an increase of 9.1 % compared with 2012 . Asset growth has been influenced by the increase in the loan portfolio (8, 2%), Cash ( 10%) and investment securities ( 9.6%). Total deposits of the CBI registered a surplus of U.S. $ 70.149 billion, reflecting an increase of 9.5 % compared to December. As to the obligations recorded a surplus of U.S. $ 14.978 million at the end of 2013 , an increase of 11.7 %.

The National (SBN ) Banking System, which includes only general license banks , ended the year 2013 with U.S. $ 80.228 million , reflecting an increase of 10.1 % compared to the same period last year. The increase in the loan portfolio ( 7.5%), Cash (15.5%) and equity investments (11.3%) is highlighted. On the liabilities side , deposits recorded a balance of U.S. $ 59,525,000 having a growth of 9.1 % , while the obligations recorded a balance of U.S. $ 10.100 billion , an increase of 25 %.

The International Banking Center had net income of $ 1.455 million in 2013 . Compared with the profit of the year 2012 a reduction of $ 13 million is determined. The result of 2013 has remained stable for the net interest income, which showed an increase of 8% compared with 2012 .

A National Banking System level a profit of U.S. $ 1.088 million was obtained , showing a decrease of $ 99 million compared with 2012 . This decrease is related to the increase in general expenses which grew 13.5%.

Furthermore Insurance sector grew 9.29% in 2013. Written premiums in Panama during 2013 totaled $ 244 million thousand, representing an increase of 9.29% compared to the thousand 138 million dollars last year. The sector therefore continues the trend of strong growth in the last five years, during which the more moderate premiums increase occurred in 2012, up 8.16%, and the peak was recorded in 2011, an improvement of 14.57%.

Regarding claims, the year closed with a 4.29% increase. Gross claims incurred were $ 543.4 million, with special emphasis on the areas of health ($ 128.4 million, 8.41%) and automotive ($ 124.7 million, 10.69% higher). In this last segment, which has a loss ratio of 59% on the written premium, the industry suffers from increasing accidents and rising parts.

Export of Agricultural and manufactured goods

Exports of agricultural and manufactured goods have also suffered an important fall in 2002, as a result of the generalized fall of the world trade during that year. After that, it highly increased from 759.6 million dollars in 2002 to 1,120.5 million dollars in 2007. In 2007, more than one-fourth of the agricultural and manufactured goods exports were fish products. Almost one-third of the exports were fruits, such as banana, melon, watermelon and pineapple.

In 2013 the non-traditional tradable goods abroad, bananas recorded positive behavior, like melon, watermelon and pineapple exports that had a favorable outcome.


The economic growth of the last two years have significantly contributed to the reduction of the unemployment rate. It has fallen from 13.1% in 2002 to 6.4% in 2007. Since a greater construction boom is expected for the next years due to the boom of the real estate activities, together with foreign immigration, and also due to the Canal enlargement, the unemployment rate is expected to continue falling significantly in the next years.

In the distribution of the employed population, it appears that most concentration occurs in the private sector, with 47.0 percent, followed by self-employed workers with 24.9 percent , the government workers with 15.1 percent , domestic service with 4.9 percent and family workers (people who worked regularly in a business or company of a family member without receiving wages or salary) with 4.9 percent .

Of the 1,132,289 people registered as employed, private enterprise was 69.4 percent, the government 22.3 percent, domestic services 6.5 percent, nonprofit organizations 1.3 percent, Cooperative employees 0.6 percent .

From the household survey it appears that more than half of the employed (63.5 percent) , working in establishments or undertakings belonging to the tertiary sector of the economy (trade , services, transport and financial intermediation , etc.) . 20.1 percent by the Manufacturing, Mining and quarrying, electricity and water supply and construction in the secondary sector. 16.4 percent of the working populatio, is active as agriculture, hunting, forestry and fishing, for the primary sector.

The total unemployment rate, remains at 4.1 percent over August, 2012. Internally the country, urban areas showed a rate of 4.7 percent, found with the rural area whose rate is 2.7 percent.

Inflation Rate

Panama’s inflation rate almost always fluctuates in the same direction as the United States’ rate, though always below it. In the past two years, the inflation rate has increased due to the petroleum prices continuous rise, the recovery of the international economy and the expansion of the domestic economy.

The Consumer Price Index ( CPI) in March compared to February 2014 showed an increase of 0.4 percent in the National Urban , 0.3 percent for the districts of Panama and San Miguelito and 0.6 percent in the Other Urban . Compared with March 2013 , an increase of 3.3 percent in both the National Urban and the districts of Panama and San Miguelito and 3.7 percent in the Other Urban was observed. So far this year, the National Urban CPI showed a cumulative increase of 1.1 percent.

The divisions showed increases above the monthly average in the National Urban CPI for March were: Health 1.0 percent , driven by the rising price of health insurance and hospitalization ; Transportation 0.6 percent , due to increased insurance premiums for vehicles; Food and drinks and various goods and services , both 0.5 percent, the increase in the price of sugar and snuff , respectively. In contrast , the division of Clothing and footwear reflected down 0.1 percent, the decline in the prices of footwear for men


The government’s fiscal situation has improved a lot. In 2007, fiscal superavit was of 3.5% as a PIB percentage, after recurrent deficits in the previous years. Fiscal adjustments have been necessary to avoid the explosive growing of the public debt and macroeconomic instability.

According to the Ministry of Economy and Finance Total revenue of Central Government amounted to B /. 6916.8 million at end 2013, which represents an increase of B /. 426.7 million compared with 2012.

Total expenditures to December 2013 increased by 15.8 % compared to the same period 2012.

Current savings to December 2013 is positive, reaching a total of $ 1, 949.6 million representing an increase of B/.40.2 million compared to the same period of 2012, 50.4 % of fund capital expenditures.

Current expenditure of Central Government amounted to B /. 4839.6 million in 2013 , of which include expenditure on subsidies such as: 100 to 70 , Guardian Angel, Grant Electric , Universal Fellowship , school uniforms and supplies, among others.

Capital expenditure at the end of the fiscal year 2013 totaled B /. 3866.0 million, including investment projects such as the construction of the first line of the Panama Metro , Vial Reorganization Panama City, Improvements to Drinking Water and Sanitation , Building Metrobus Stops for Construction of Hospitals, etc. .

Moreover indicator gross public debt vs GDP continues its downward trend , decreasing from 45.6 % at year- end 2009 to 38.3 % in December 2013.