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Economic Survey of Latin America and the Caribbean 1996-1997

image of Economic Survey of Latin America and the Caribbean 1996-1997

In 1996 and 1997, the economies of Latin America and the Caribbean appeared to have returned to the pattern of moderate growth. Part I of this publication gives insight into the economic trends, the international economy and the role of exchange rate policy in the region. Part II explores the economic developments by country. Included also is a statistical annex on diskette, which contains tables extending as far back as 1980.

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Panama

In 1996, economic activity in Panama expanded fairly slowly (2.5%) for the second year in a row, after having grown at a very rapid pace in previous years. This relative slowdown, which did, nonetheless, yield a slight increase in per capita gross domestic product (GDP) supervened as some of the key sectors in Panama's economy- such as construction and the banana industry, which is the agricultural sector's largest export activity -began to lose the momentum they had exhibited in earlier years. Meanwhile, financial rehabilitation efforts enabled the country to take a major step forward by renegotiating its external debt under the Brady Plan, which made it possible for Panama to re-enter private international financial markets on favourable terms. In addition, the country consolidated its trade liberalization process by acceding to the Agreement establishing the World Trade Organization (WTO) These achievements were complemented by the ongoing recovery of major portions of the Panama Canal.

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