Country Report Panama March 1998 Main report

Economy: Construction recovers

After the stagnation and decline of recent years -- value added in construction rose by only 1.5% in 1995 and fell by 4.1% in 1996 -- the sector registered an upturn of 5% last year. As the table below indicates, the growth has largely been in the public sector, reflecting the high level of spending on highway projects. Infrastructure was also the only sector of private construction showing strong growth; the value of residential construction contracted, with a particularly marked fall in the now saturated luxury end of the market.

Value of construction activity (B m) 1995 1996 1997 Private sector 369.6 350.8 379.4 Residential (under $200,000) 96.4 82.2 76.7 Residential (over $200,000) 102.3 118.6 96.6 Non-residential 140.8 111.0 118.7 Infrastructure 29.6 39.0 87.4 Public sector 120.7 140.3 207.5 Total 490.3 491.1 586.9 Source: MIPPE.

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