Panama’s economy grew 10% in the first half of 2021

Anatoly Gaviria Nov 25, 2021

Panama’s economy grew 10.0% compared to the same period of the previous year, reflecting the beginning of the recovery. The good performance of the Panamanian economy in the second quarter of 2021 was measured through the Quarterly Gross Domestic Product (GDPT), which presented an increase of 40.4%, compared to the similar period of the previous year, where the GDPT registered a fall of 17.9%

Economic activities began their recovery process after the impact generated by this pandemic in the comparable quarter of 2020, where the greatest effects on economic activities were recorded given the mobility restrictions and partial closures of the operations of companies and establishments in the country.

Agriculture, livestock, hunting and forestry

The Agricultural Gross Value Added registered an increase of 9.0% in the quarter, due to the positive behavior of agricultural activities such as: the cultivation of rice and corn that increased by 5.2% and 7.7%, respectively. While there were activities that showed drops such as the export of bananas and pineapple in 26.7% and 25.6%, in their order preventing the growth of the sector from being greater.

The agricultural sector, as a whole, showed an increase in the first semester of 3.4%.


For the second quarter, fishing activity showed a decrease of 4.0%, which is reflected in the decrease in exports of fresh chilled and frozen fish in 16.3%, it stopped the fall of this economic category of shrimp with a growth of 59.2%. The activity presented a semi-annual accumulated growth of 4.1%.

Mining and quarrying

The Gross Value Added of this activity registered a significant increase of 728.3%, compared to the quarter of the previous year. Exports of copper minerals and their concentrates to the various international markets reached an amount of 81,686 tons produced in the quarter. For the period January to June, the category reported a growth of 178.3%.

Manufacturing industries

Industrial production presented a growth of 25.4% in its Gross Added Value compared to the same period of the previous year. Among the economic activities that sustained this behavior were: Production of meat and meat products with 18.6%, due to the greater slaughter of cattle, pigs and poultry, manufacture of cement, lime and plaster with 333.7%, elaboration of dairy products with 6.5% , elaboration of malted beverages, carbonated beverages and liquors in 201.8%, 18.8% and 237.5%, respectively.

Supply of electricity, gas and water

The behavior of the activity as a whole registered an increase of 10.8% in the Gross Value Added in the quarter; the generation of renewable energy that includes hydroelectric, wind and solar increased by 56.7%; for its part, energy distribution increased by 13.5% and transmission by 13.0%. However, the generation of thermal energy decreased by 48.2%.


During the second quarter, the activity showed a growth of 489.5%, due to the reactivation of public civil engineering works, as well as the construction of buildings, mainly those benefited with preferential interest, thus showing a
progressive recovery of the sector that was severely impacted by the health crisis of COVID-19 that affects the country. This category, as a whole, presented an increase of 10.5%, during the first semester.

Wholesale and retail trade, repair of motor vehicles, motorcycles, personal effects and household goods

As a whole, commercial activities increased their contribution to Gross Added Value by 23.9%. The wholesale trade showed a positive behavior in the volume of sales of fuels, food, beverages and tobacco, personal effects and various products.

On the other hand, the retail trade showed an increase, due to the increase in the sales of food and beverages, pharmaceuticals, motor vehicles, maintenance and repair.

Hotels and restaurants

The category, as a whole, showed a positive evolution of 92.0% in its Gross Added Value, where the income of restaurants grew by 99.9% compared to the second quarter of 2020, in which this activity it was kept partially or totally closed; On the other hand, the hotel sector registered a decrease, due to the drop in hotel occupancy and the number of tourists entering the country. In the first half of the year, the activity showed a contraction of 31.2%.

Transport, storage and communications

The Gross Added Value of transport, storage and communications as a whole, registered a growth of 29.8% explained by the operations of the Panama Canal, ports, air transport, land passenger transport and telecommunications.

The Panama Canal showed a positive variation, due to the increase in toll revenues by 20.2% (at current prices), and the services provided to ships in transit.

Financial intermediation

The Gross Value Added of financial intermediation, for the second quarter registered a fall of 5.3%, the financial services of the International Banking Center presented a decrease of 10.4%.

Similarly, the balance of internal loans to the private sector continues to have a negative impact due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, in lines such as: construction, commerce and manufacturing industry.

Real estate, business and rental activities

The Added Value of this economic category for the second quarter registered a growth of 15.3%, where the market real estate activities registered a positive behavior in the business services of architecture and engineering, legal, advertising, among others. In turn, real estate activity for own end use (home ownership), which was 3.2% higher, was favored by the supply of residential buildings built in previous years. The accumulated growth of this category for the first semester was 1.8%.

Private education services

The activity as a whole showed a positive behavior of 0.3%, as a result of the increase in blended classes at the pre-primary and primary education levels; general education secondary education; as well as higher level education.
For the semester, this category showed a decrease of 4.0%.

Activities of social services and private health

The activity of health services provided by the private sector, increased by 6.3%, as a result of the increase in hospital activities; doctors and dentists, assistants and nurses, as well as laboratory care. From January to June, this category reflected an increase of 5.5%.

Other community, social and personal service activities

The Gross Value Added of this category of economic activity grew by 189.7%, due to an increase in lottery sales and in casino and racetrack bets. Likewise, the activities of washing and ironing services for cloth garments; hairdressing activities and other beauty treatments; as well as other leisure activities reported positive variations compared to the same quarter of 2020.

Private households with domestic service

The activity of domestic services provided to households showed a negative variation of 3.1%, as a result of the decrease in personnel employed in this activity as a result of the labor situation facing the country as a result of the pandemic. For the semester, this category showed a decrease of 13.2%.

General Government (Other non-market production)

The General Government, for the second quarter, registered an increase of 3.2%, favored by the increase in salaries in some public institutions such as the Ministry of Health and the Social Security Fund given the need to increase the health personnel that faces the crisis generated by COVID-19. Likewise, there were increases in the Ministry of Security and other public institutions.

Taxes on products net of subsidies

Taxes on products net of subsidies showed an increase of 144.4%, due to the increase in the collection of taxes and import duties, services rendered (ITBMS) and taxes on the products; as well as the decrease in subsidies for activities. Accumulated to the first semester, taxes net of subsidies registered an increase of 15.7%.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *