Country Analysts

Marco Fernandez
Former Economic Advisor, Ministry of Planning

In The News


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Recent Country Insights

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Official date confirm our estimations of deceleration
PANAMA - Report 26 Dec 2018
Executive Summary According to data published by the Comptroller's General Office last week, real GDP grew 3.6% in Q3 and 3.6% from January to September. In YTD terms, growth was driven by transportation and communications, commerce, health and social services, realty and services to business, fi...

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Q3 fiscal results: a sign of things to come
PANAMA - Report 26 Nov 2018
Executive SummaryThe Fiscal Responsibility Law was amended to allow the NFPS to raise the ceiling of the net deficit to 2% of GDP at the end of 2018, up from 1% set in the previous version. The results through September suggest that even the new ceiling will be difficult to attain. The fiscal bal...

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Panama: The Presidential race is on
PANAMA - In Brief 29 Oct 2018
This Sunday, two parties held their primaries: the incumbent Panameñista Party and the hard-liner leftist Frente Amplio por la Democracia (FAD). The major of Panama City, José I. Blandón defeated by an ample margin (56.7% vs. 38.1 %) his main opponent, Mario Etchelecu (former Minister of Housing)...

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Economic projections for 2019 are optimistic…but some issues must be closely followed
PANAMA - Report 24 Oct 2018
Executive SummaryInternational analysts are bullish about the growth of the Panamanian economy next year: the IMF projects 6.8%, the World Bank 5.4%, ECLAC 5.2%, and the Ministry of Economy and Finance (MEF) assumed an implicit real growth rate of 5.8% in the budget (not yet approved). We project...

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The Legislative Assembly (Diputados) approved the new Fiscal Responsibility Law (FRL) and President Varela signed it today
PANAMA - In Brief 10 Oct 2018
After a long tug-of-war between the Ministry of Economy and Finance (MEF) and the Diputados, the new FRL was approved yesterday. The new fiscal architecture follows the pattern presented by the MEF in mid-year and discussed in our previous issue:1. The adjustment to the deficit (related to Panama...

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De-acceleration continues in 2018, and China-Panamá relations are under scrutiny
PANAMA - Report 28 Sep 2018
Executive Summary Real GDP grew 3.1% y/y in Q2 2018, continuing its downward trend. Accumulated growth during the first half of the year was 3.7%. During the second quarter, the month-long labor strike in the construction sector (around 15 percent of GDP) brought activity to a halt; therefore, th...

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With ample support Laurentino Cortizo won the primaries of the PRD Party
PANAMA - In Brief 17 Sep 2018
Laurentino Cortizo (Nito) was elected presidential candidate of the PRD for the May 2019 elections in Sunday’s primaries. Several key issues are relevant for the future: (1) The participation of the party members was higher than expectations (60.5% of the affiliated members, or more than three hu...

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Why is the economy in a significant slowdown?... and what to we expect in the short term
PANAMA - Forecast 03 Sep 2018
Executive SummaryOur growth projections for 2018 (3.8%) are lower than what international analysts have argue. ECLAC projects 5.2% growth for the year despite a month-long labor strike in the construction sector from mid-April to mid-May (construction represents almost twenty percent of GDP). IMF...

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Gloomy outlook for the public sector finances
PANAMA - In Brief 20 Aug 2018
The official Ministry of Finance’s (MEF) report on Non-Financial Public Sector performance through June showed dismal numbers. Total revenues grew 0.8 percent in the first six months: Central Government revenues didn’t increase even in nominal terms and only Social Security revenues performed rea...