Exports decline 46.4 percent
PANAMA. According to the last report by the Comptroller’s Office, exports in the first quarter of 2009 declined 46. 4 percent when comp...
PANAMA. According to the last report by the Comptroller’s Office, exports in the first quarter of 2009 declined 46. 4 percent when compared to the same period in 2008. From $545. 3 million exported in the first quarter of 2008, the amount exported this year went down to $292. 2 million.
Imports also fell during the same period, albeit to a lesser extent, suffering a decline of 11 percent compared to the first quarter of last year.
No export group was spared from the declining tendency, yet no sector was hurt more than agriculture, whose decline in exports surpasses 50 percent.
Yet sources from the agricultural sector say poor credit rather than the financial crisis has been the biggest culprit.
The president of the non-traditional agro-exporters group, Edwin Perez, said that in the world market demand was greater than supply, and as a result prices remained competitive, yet production was less than in previous years.
For Maximo Gallardo, president of the Panamanian Association of Exporters, the lack of financing played a huge part in the decline of exports.
He explained that most agro-exporters harvest in the summer months, but the farmer has to prepare the lands between October and December.
This lapse of time coincides with the period when local banks restricted loans, according to the Bank Superintendence.
The former banker and current head of the economic group Indesa, Luis Navarro, recognizes that requirements for financing have been higher, yet he says a separate analysis is needed for each product that is exported to learn the factors that have led to the decline.