Well, this comes as no surprise to those of us who are watching the worlds economy so the only question is how accurate are the projections. As this article points out, the Panama economy is being driven by construction and those of us involved in this industry know that the hand writing is on the wall. Although the powers that be try to put a positive spin on it (that even a 5-6% growth rate is very good) the fact is that any slowdown means loss of jobs, loss of revenue for the state and political pressure to do something about it. The real effects of the slow down have only begun to be seen in the economic numbers because in the real world these changes are happening immediately. There is real contraction in shipping which will affect all sectors of this service economy.
Excerpt: “The main activities or sectors that have experienced the most rapid growth in recent years, construction, the Canal, tourism and the Colón Free Zone, will slow a lot in 2009,” financier Domingo Latorraca said.
But growth between 5 percent and 6 percent is not necessarily bad news, economists agreed.
“That remains a good rate of growth,” said economist Nicolás Ardito Barletta.
In fact, according to the latest update of forecasts from the International Monetary Fund, only one country in Latin America, Peru, is expected to exceed that level of growth next year, and that country’s economy is only expected to expand by 7 percent. Many other economies could see little or negative growth rates.