Country Report Panama March 1998 Main report

Money & finance: Lending to the private sector rises by 11%

A consistent pattern in the present decade (to which 1996 was an exception) has been for credit to the public sector to decline while lending to the private sector has risen in double digits. This pattern was repeated in 1997, when domestic loans to the public sector contracted by 1.2% and those to the private sector rose by 11.4%. Rates of increase varied widely between different categories of borrower, reflecting the increased competition from foreign banks which have entered the personal loans market.

Domestic lending by sector (B m) 1996 1997 % change Public sector 1,096 1,083 -1.2 Private sector 6,474 7,212 11.4 Finance & insurance 300 362 20.7 Agriculture, fishing, livestock & mining 341 320 -6.2 Commerce 2,568 2,896 12.8 Manufacturing 371 415 11.9 Housing & construction 1,946 2,122 9.0 Consumer 948 1,097 15.7 Total 7,570 8,295 9.6 Source: MIPPE.

© 1998 The Economist lntelligence Unit Ltd. All rights reserved
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