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Friday, August 29 2014 @ 10:18 AM EDT

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Holy Crap! You Might Owe Panama Thousands of Dollars in Back Taxes...

Money Matters

By DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - Recently a potentially explosive issue has come to my attention. Panama passed Law Number 5 of 11 January 2007, and according to that law it's very possible every foreigner who owns property in a Panamanian corporation has to pay a tax equal to 2% of the value of that property in an "equity tax" every year. For example, if you own a property worth $250,000 dollars, if that property is held within a Panamanian corporation, and if you have done nothing else to specifically protect yourself from this tax, then you already owe Panama about $10,000 in back taxes (2% of $250,000 or $5,000 for 2007, another $5,000 for 2008, plus penalties and interest.) Want to read more? I thought so... (more)

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BNP Has $150 Million for Financial Stimulus Program

Money MattersBy EDITH CASTILLO DUARTE for La Prensa - The Banco Nacional de Panamá (BNP) has committed $150 million dollars in loans for projects, from both local and foreign banks, that could be considered as part of the financial stimulus program. The superintendent of Banks of Panama, Olegario Barrelier, spoke to La Prensa about the program, the Panamanian banking system, and what he expects to happen with respect to the global financial crisis. (See Comments)
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Panama's '08 Consolidated Budget Surplus At 0.4% Of GDP

Money MattersDOW JONES NEWSWIRES - The Panamanian government's consolidated budget ended last year with a surplus equivalent to 0.4% of the country's gross domestic product or $97.8 million, the Panamanian government said Thursday. The surplus is lower than the 3.5% surplus reported in 2007 as a result of higher spending, the government said. Kathryn Rooney, analyst at the Miami-based investment bank Bulltick Capital Markets, said that given the circumstances - the U.S. financial crisis and global turmoil - the fiscal surplus is a positive outcome. Rooney had expected a 1.5% fiscal surplus for 2008. "Panama along with Peru are the stars in Latin America," Rooney said, adding that Panama has a diversified economy that depends on several different and performing industries such as tourism, the canal, banks and the construction sector. Panama is expected to experience a "soft landing" this year as the country is well-positioned to weather the global economic slowdown as a result of strong growth, fiscal surpluses and declining debt ratios, Rooney added. Panama likely grew 7.7% last year, and it may grow around 2.5% this year, according to Bulltick. For 2009, Rooney expects a deficit of 0.5% GDP as tax revenues will fall. -By Diana Delgado, Dow Jones Newswires; 571-6107044 Ext 1132; diana.delgado@ dowjones.com
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Panama Sets Up New Council to Manage $1.11 Billion Economic Stimulus Package

Money MattersInside Costa Rica - Panama - Panama set up a new council Tuesday for carrying out the government's financial crisis management program, local media reported. The Directive Council of the Financial Stimulus Program, which will be temporary and whose extension will depend on the country's economic circumstances, will manage the government's incentive package of 1.11 billion U.S. dollars designed to lighten the impact of the global crisis. The measure aims to maintain economic stability, employment growth and commercial activity achieved in the country in the past years, said Erich Rodriguez Auerbach, Secretary of State Communications. "Its main aim will be to take on-time public policies to prevent or counteract the impacts posed by the global financial crisis," Rodriguez stressed. He said the program will support the economic agents or clients of banks who need funds to overcome economic difficulties, mainly those who are finding it difficult to get credit. Panama has about 90 registered banks from all over the world and is considered to have one of the most solid financial systems in the region.
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Positive Panama 2008 Economic Activity

Money MattersPanama, Jan 27 (Prensa Latina) The Monthly Index of Economic Activity (IMAE) of Panama grew 8.27 percent from January to November of 2008, informed official sources. According to comptroller reports the growth was due to the high performance of mining and quarries, construction, transportation, storage and communications, hotels and restaurants. Also noteworthy in that period was trade, real estate and other community, social and personal services. The sector of electricity and water presented a positive rate due to the increase of hydraulic energy as well as a larger invoicing of water consumption. In the mean time, the manufacturing industry presented increases in making paper, non metal mineral products and meats and alcoholic beverages. Other sectors that supplied growth to the economy during the period analyzed were fishing, brokerages and public administration. However, the index in November registered 3.47 percent demonstrating a deceleration in relation to the 4.75 percent increase registered in October.
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Panama's November growth rate slowest in 8 months

Money MattersPANAMA CITY, Jan 26 (Reuters) - Panama's economic growth rate slowed in November to its weakest pace in eight months as a slowdown in the global economy hit the vital shipping sector, the government said on Monday. The economy grew 3.47 percent in November from the same month a year earlier, down from a revised reading of 4.75 percent growth in October. The Comptroller General's office said shipping activity fell, with less merchandise transported compared with November the previous year. The Panama Canal is an important conduit of global trade and a motor for economic growth in the country. Growth slowed in the plastic and metal manufacturing industries as well as in the production of some agricultural products, the government said. The slowdown comes amid growing concern over the impact of tightening global credit markets on Panama's banking sector. The government recently announce it would set up a $1.1 billion fund for banks to draw on if they faced problems with liquidity as a result of tougher lending conditions. (Reporting by Andrew Beatty; Editing by James Dalgleish) Keywords: PANAMA ECONOMY/
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Panama creates $1.1 billion fund to ease credit

Money Matters PANAMA CITY (AP) — Panama's government is borrowing $1.1 billion to create a fund it hopes will ease credit and boost investment amid the global economic crisis. Panamanian President Martin Torrijos says the fund will grant Panamanians low-cost loans to buy homes and expand businesses. The Inter-American Development Bank, the Andean Development Corp. and the National Bank of Panama are financing the project, which will be overseen by the National Bank, one of Panama's two state banks. The global downturn has tightened credit markets across Latin America, further stalling slowed growth. Panama's economy expanded 9.2 percent in 2008 — down from 11.5 percent in 2007, but still one of the highest rates in the region. (Dont' Miss Comments)
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FTA BETWEEN PANAMA AND HONDURAS TAKES EFFECT

Money MattersFlorida Shipper - The free trade agreement between Panama and Honduras took effect on Jan. 9. The agreement has an impact on 80 percent of the goods traded between the countries, the Panamanian Ministry of Commerce and Industry said. The deal means preferential deals on the trade of 400 tons of bovine meat and 100 tons of pork meat in two years, as well as quotas on other products such as milk and cheese. Honduras is considered the third-largest market of exports for the Panamanian products.
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Panama's Total Debt Reduced in 2008

Money Matters Telemetro Reporta - Panama's total debt was reduced in 2008 to $10.4 billion dollars, or $31 million less than the total at the end of 2007, according to Finance Minister Héctor Alexander. "The estimated debt balance reached $10.439 billion dollars, of which $8.479 billion corresponds to external debt and $1.960 to internal debt," he said. Alexander added that in the present decade, the relationship of debt to GDP has been reduced from it's highest level of 71.1% in 2001 to just 45% in 2008, reflecting "results unprecedented in the past 15 years." Alexander also said payments for investments reached $2.9 billion dollars in the period from 2006 through 2008, a number very similar to the accumulated current saving for the same period. Alexander defended the economic management of the government of president Martin Torrijos saying this reduction in the national debt is the result of a financial strategy "consisting of generating current savings to finance an ever increasing portion of the program of investments, depending less and less on new debt." (See Comments)
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Economic crisis '09: Latin America to face 'enormous stress'

Money MattersBy Barbara J. Fraser (CNS) - The global economic downturn has cast a pall over the new year in Latin America. While the region's leaders initially struck a positive note in the face of bad news from abroad, most are now drafting plans to create jobs, keep financial systems from wobbling and shore up social programs in case of a prolonged recession. "It's very hard to have an upbeat outlook about the region," where countries "are going to be under enormous stress," Michael Shifter, vice president for policy at the Washington-based Inter-American Dialogue and adjunct professor of Latin American politics at Georgetown University, told Catholic News Service. Experts say the crisis will hit poor Latin Americans hardest. It will increase unemployment, pushing more into the informal economy --- without insurance, pensions or other benefits --- and widen the gap between rich and poor. Economic hardship and cuts in social spending may trigger discontent reflected at the polls or in the streets. (more)
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