Country Analysts

Marco Fernandez
Former Economic Advisor, Ministry of Planning

In The News


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Recent Country Insights

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Water is critical for the Canal and the country: two new proposals
PANAMA - In Brief 20 Jan 2020
Water is a scarce resource: it is evident for most of the citizens (and authorities) of the world, but Panamanian governments for decades were adamant, in general, to adjust the tariffs to price in that scarcity in the relevant markets. Last week two state-owned institutions stepped forward to de...

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The Cabinet decided today to withdraw a controversial proposal for Constitutional reform and called for a “national debate” sponsored by the UNDP (United Nations).
PANAMA - In Brief 23 Dec 2019
The reform was a leading campaign issue by all the parties in the recent presidential contest. Cortizo and the PRD party opted for following a long process of modifications established in the Constitution: two approvals by the Legislative Assembly plus a national referendum. The draft of the init...

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Mixed news in the economy… better news in the institutional front
PANAMA - Report 20 Dec 2019
The general feeling that the economy is doing poorly in terms of economic activity and job creation was supported by the recent data (2.7 percent growth in QIII and 2.9 percent in the year). Therefore, economic growth for 2019 will be lower than in 2018 (3.7 percent). Retail sales, free trade zon...

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The first round of Constitutional reforms was a failure… but there is hope for a positive outcome next year
PANAMA - Report 25 Nov 2019
The economy is growing slowly but steadily (3.25% through September according to the Monthly Index of Economic Activity). The 2020 budget is consistent with this pattern and therefore will not be expansive, given the limitations of the Fiscal Responsibility Law (a 2.75% deficit ratio for 2020). T...

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A new fiscal ceiling is approved, the economy stalls and a dangerous Constitutional reform is underway
PANAMA - Report 01 Nov 2019
The Legislative Assembly approved the revision of the Fiscal Responsibility Law (FRL) on October 28. The proposal approved by the Cabinet was enacted without modifications. Minister Alexander made a technical presentation in which he described the situation of the public finances and the need for...

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A new fiscal deficit ceiling
PANAMA - In Brief 03 Oct 2019
Yesterday, Héctor Alexander, the head of the Ministry of Economy and Finance (MEF) presented a bill of law at the national assembly in order to amend the deficit limit of 2.0% of GDP established by the Social Fiscal Responsibility Law (LRSF) back in October 2018. The proposed amendment would rais...

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Low growth, high fiscal deficit, and mixed news in the institutional front
PANAMA - Report 20 Sep 2019
The growth rate in the second quarter was 2.8%, the lowest since the financial crisis of 2Q-2009. For the first half of the year it was 3.0%; therefore, the 4.0% growth that MEF projects seems difficult to achieve, despite the expected boom in copper exports. From a national accounting-GDP perspe...

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Our new projections reflect a slow first semester and a difficult fiscal situation
PANAMA - Forecast 30 Aug 2019
The NFPS results for the first two quarters of 2019 showed what the new administration will have to deal with in the second half of the year: large deficits as a result of lower revenues and higher expenditures. The net position of the NFPS (-US 2,317 million) doubles the amount of the same perio...

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The economic implications of Ricardo Martinelli's acquittal
PANAMA - In Brief 10 Aug 2019
Not guilty of the accusations that the Attorney General office (Ministerio Público, MP) presented against former president Ricardo Martinelli (July 2009-July 2014): illegal wiretapping of citizens and embezzlement of public funds. This was the unanimous verdict of three judges on Friday evening, ...

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