Panama Survived the Crisis

September 29, 2009
The economy and the global financial system were pushed to the brink a year ago. The world entered in what has been called as "the worst crisis of the past 70 years". The major industrial economies contracted, production and international trade fell to record levels. But despite all this, Panama kept growing.

Although, the economy growth did fall from 9.2% in 2008 to a 2.5% in the first quarter of 2009 which undermined the public finances, the gross domestic product did not experience any drops in the September 2008 - March 2009 period, and unemployment did not increase either. The economy minister, Alberto Vallarino, described as "positive" the economic growth of 2.5% in Panama during the first half of 2009 considering the global economic crisis.

According to the projections from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the Economic Commission for Latin America (ECLAC), Panama will be once again the Latin American country with the most growth this year, a rate of about 3%. In the view of leading economists, "Panama dodged this crisis much better than most countries in the world".

Additionally, Panama moved up 6 spots in Doing Business 2010, a report released by the World Bank and IFC for six straight years. Panama had been ranked 77 among 183 economies around the world.

In 2008, Panama had occupied the position number 71. Report co-author, Frederick Bustelo, said that "Panama is heading in the right direction". The rise in the scale of assessment is the result of reforms in the management of building permits and property registration.