Economy of Panama

Mother Earth Travel > Country Index > Panama > Map Economy History

Panama's economy is based primarily on a well-developed services sector that accounts for nearly 80% of GDP. Services include the Panama Canal, banking, the Colon Free Zone, insurance, container ports, and flagship registry, medical and health, and other business.

A major challenge facing the current government under President Mireya Moscoso is turning to productive use the 70,000 acres of former U.S. military land and the more than 5,000 buildings that reverted to Panama at the end of 1999. Administratively, this job falls to the Panamanian Inter-Oceanic Regional Authority (ARI).

GDP growth for 2000 was about 2.3% compared to 3.0% in 1999. Though Panama has the highest GDP per capita in Central America, about 40% of its population lives in poverty. The unemployment rate surpassed 14% in 2002.

Beginning March 1, 2001, Panama will serve as host for the 2001-03 Free Trade Area of the Americas negotiations. Additionally, Panama is negotiating free trade areas with Mexico and its Central American neighbors.

GDP: purchasing power parity - $16.6 billion (2000 est.)
GDP - real growth rate: 2.3% (2000 est.)
GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity - $6,000 (2000 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture:  7%
industry:  16.5%
services:  76.5% (1999 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: 1.2%
highest 10%: 35.7% (1997)
Inflation rate (consumer prices): 1.8% (2000 est.)
Labor force: 1.1 million (2000 est.)
note: shortage of skilled labor, but an oversupply of unskilled labor
Labor force - by occupation: agriculture 20.8%, industry 18%, services 61.2% (1995 est.)
Unemployment rate: 13% (2000 est.)
Budget:
revenues:  $2.8 billion
expenditures:  $2.9 billion, including capital expenditures of $471 million (2000 est.)
Industries: construction, petroleum refining, brewing, cement and other construction materials, sugar milling
Industrial production growth rate: 2% (2000 est.)
Electricity - production: 4.413 billion kWh (1999)
Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel:  27.78%
hydro:  71.65%
nuclear:  0%
other:  0.57% (1999)
Electricity - consumption: 4.049 billion kWh (1999)
Agriculture - products: bananas, rice, corn, coffee, sugarcane, vegetables; livestock; shrimp
Exports: $5.7 billion (f.o.b., 2000 est.)
Exports - commodities: bananas, shrimp, sugar, coffee, clothing
Exports - partners: US 42%, Germany 11%, Costa Rica 5%, Benelux 4%, Italy 4% (1999)
Imports: $6.9 billion (f.o.b., 2000 est.)
Imports - commodities: capital goods, crude oil, foodstuffs, consumer goods, chemicals
Imports - partners: US 39%, Colon Free Zone 14%, Japan 8%, Ecuador 6%, Mexico 5% (1999)
Debt - external: $7.56 billion (2000 est.)
Economic aid - recipient: $197.1 million (1995)
Currency: balboa (PAB); US dollar (USD)

SOURCES: The World Factbook, U.S. Department of State

Mother Earth Travel > Country Index > Panama > Map Economy History