Country Listing

Panama Table of Contents



Gross Domestic Product (GDP): US$4.9 billion in 1985, more than US$2,000 per capita. Growth of GDP estimated at 2.8 percent for 1986, demonstrating some economic recovery following very low or negative growth as a result of recession after 1982.

Agriculture: About 9 percent of GDP in 1985. Crops represented just over 63 percent of value added in agriculture. Main crops--bananas, sugarcane, rice, corn, coffee, beans, tobacco, melons, and flowers. Livestock (producing primarily red meat) accounted for nearly 30 percent of value added in agriculture; fishing (primarily shrimp), just over 4 percent; and forestry, nearly 3 percent. Largely self-sufficient in foods except wheat.

Industry: Nearly 18 percent of GDP in 1985, including primarily manufacturing and mining (over 9 percent of GDP), construction (nearly 5 percent of GDP), and energy (over 3 percent of GDP). Manufacturing consisted mainly of import substitution, consumer goods. A few larger plants, including oil refining, electric power, cement, and sugar. Manufacturing concentrated near major cities.

Services: Over 73 percent of GDP in 1985. Sector included transportation, banking and other financial services, government services, wholesale and retail trade, and other services.

Currency: Balboa equal to United States dollar. Balboas available only in coins. Dollars circulated as the only paper currency.

Imports: US$1.34 Billion in 1985, including primarily manufactured goods, crude oil, machinery and transportation equipment, chemicals, and food products.

Exports: US$414.5 million in 1985, mainly refined petroleum, bananas, sugar, manufactured goods, shrimp, and clothing.

Balance of Payments: Traditionally, no short-run constraints because of monetary system. Large exports of services, including those to former Canal Zone, nearly compensated for deficits in merchandise trade balance. Substantial inflow of capital. Beginning in June 1987, however, extensive capital flight, bank closures, and cutoffs of United States aid as a result of the volatile political situation posed serious short- and long-term financial problems for Panama.

Fiscal Year: Calendar year.

Fiscal Policy: Public-sector expenditures considerably above revenues, resulting in large external public debt--one of the world's largest on a per capita basis. Austerity and structural adjustment programs imposed in 1983-84 successful in reducing deficit, but debt service remained a major burden in the late 1980s.

Data as of December 1987