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Saturday, May 25 2019 @ 03:12 AM UTC

Forbes Notes Panama's Prosperity

Money MattersBob Bauman - A leading U.S. financial magazine, Forbes, has taken note of something we've been talking about for months -- the fact that the Republic of Panama, one of our favorite offshore jurisdictions, so far has escaped the worst impact of the worldwide recession harming other nations. The Dec. 8th edition of Forbes sees three important factors producing Panama's seeming immune from the global financial mess. Construction, Canal & Colon: First, the Panamanian construction sector remains in hyper-growth mode as it has been for several years, even though there are sign the condo fever is waning in Panama City. Forbes notes that U.S. retirees are attracted by the comparatively lower cost of living, the ease of a dollarized economy, the presence of many English-speaking expats and locals and the proximity to the United States. (more)

A second major factor is the Panama Canal widening construction project that is boosting the nation's economy, the largest infrastructure project in Latin America with a tentative tag price of $5.2 billion. Already underway, the project is pumping money into the local service-based economy, which should easily reach the 7-8% growth in 2009 according to International Monetary Fund projections.

The third important reason for prosperity is the massive income generated by the Colon Free Zone, (second in size only to Hong Kong), representing almost 8% of the Panama economy.

Last year, bilateral trade between the U.S. and Panama totaled $4.1 billion, up by nearly one billion over 2006. One third of Panama's imports come from the United States, and 36% of its total exports are bound for the United States.

Continuing Boom

Panama's economy grew by 9.2% in the 3rd quarter over the year ago period, helped by expansion of agriculture, manufacturing and services, the government reported Monday. Between July and September GDP grew to $4.73 billion, up $400 million from the same period in 2007.

Panama's economy is expected to grow 9.5% in 2008 and at least 7.5% in 2009, as the impact of the consumer slowdown in the United States begins to hit global trade. Transport, including shipping through the country's famous canal, accounts for about a fifth of Panama's gross domestic product.

According to the government, other growth sectors continue to flourish including the construction sector, which has transformed Panama City's skyline into a mass of skyscrapers. In the third quarter, the construction sector grew 28.8% over a year ago, accounting for just over 5% of GDP, but a sign of slowing was shown in a 30% construction decline in September compared to a year ago.

Panama has posted 23 consecutive quarters of economic growth, growing gross domestic product by 11.5% in 2007, which is double the pace of the rest of Latin America and well ahead of the United States. These numbers rival powerhouse China in terms of national GDP growth.

But one veteran local observer urges caution: "I am amazed that they can state that even though the condo bubble appears to be bursting, Panama is doing 'brilliantly'. When stories like that come out you can be sure things are not as rosy as they would like you to think."

You Can Visit This Leading Offshore Haven Soon

We have long advocated Panama as an excellent offshore tax and asset haven. Since the 1920's it has adopted business and finance friendly laws and its territorial tax policy imposes no taxes on income earned outside Panama. As the banking hub of Latin America, Panama also offers strong financial privacy and bank secrecy and has no tax treaties with any other nation.

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Forbes Notes Panama's Prosperity | 2 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Forbes Notes Panama's Prosperity
Authored by: oldmanandthesea on Thursday, December 18 2008 @ 10:39 PM UTC

But as far as the security of your money in Panamanian banks, let us not forget the HSBC vs. Peter Gordon case. The truth of the matter is, your money is not safe in Panama.

Clyde Jenkins

Forbes Notes Panama's Prosperity
Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, December 21 2008 @ 03:31 PM UTC

While your money may not be 100% safe in Panama banks, where is it safe? Try to move your money from the US to Panama and you can be sure some creativity will be needed since the "Patriot Act" gives the government permission to do whatever they want in the name of protecting your freedom. Or put it with the investment firms, not really safe there, and lets not forget about the ever so broke banks, where oh where did all that money go? The other news is that so many people lost so much in the US failed economy that there is less money for most everyone to worry about; with the exception of a few CEOS and Politicians of course. How is that different from Panama? Financial security is mostly illusion and I would love to hear from anyone who has figured out where your investment is completely safe.