PANAMA CITY, Feb. 21, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Panama's Ministry of Economy and Finance has announced that it projects the country's economic growth for 2017 at 5.8%, the highest rate among all Latin American economies, thanks to strong performance in a variety of sectors including construction, mining, finance, and public services, as well as public infrastructure and energy generation.
Raul Moreira, Director of Economic and Social Analysis at the Ministry of Economy and Finance (MEF), explained in a press conference that the Ministry's forecast is aligned with projections from the International Monetary Fund, which also estimates Panamanian economic growth at 5.8%. The Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) projects 2017 growth to be 5.9% and the World Bank 5.4%. Panama's economy continues to lead Latin America, according to the World Bank, and is well-ahead of ECLAC's projected average growth for Latin America of 1.3%.
"It is crucial that Panama sustains this economic growth trend with low inflation levels to benefit lower-income sectors" said Moreira.
Under the administration of President Juan Carlos Varela, Panama's economy has propelled to the top of Latin America, driven by well-diversified growth across several sectors including major public infrastructure investments such as the Third Bridge over the Panama Canal ($570 million), Ciudad Esperanza ($137 million), and Line 2 of the Metro, together with private sector mega-projects such as the first natural gas Generation Plant in Latin America ($1.1 billion) and Minera Panama, with its project Cobre Panama, with an investment of almost $6 billion.
In 2016, the MEF estimates the country's growth between 5% and 5.2%, also due to growth in construction, mining, and financial sectors, and public infrastructure and energy generation. The MEF's forecasts for 2016 also aligned with the IMF and ECLAC, while the World Bank estimates a 5.6% growth for the same period.
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SOURCE Government of Panama