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Panama, officially called the Republic of Panama, is a country in Central America situated between North and South America. It is bordered by Costa Rica to the west, Colombia to the southeast, the Caribbean to the north and the Pacific Ocean to the south. The capital and largest city is Panama City; whose metropolitan area is home to nearly half of the country's 3.9 million people.
The banking system is the largest part of the republic's financial sector that contributes a sizable 8 percent to Panama's GDP. Panama's banking industry is the most modern and most successful in Latin America, second only to Switzerland in the world. With the restructuring of the banking system in 1998, the Superintendent of Banks that supervise and the central banking functions of the country. Panama's banking system meets most international standards. They have one of the strictest banking and financial laws in the world, adopt internationally-accepted standards for accounting and auditing, adhere to the Basel Committee guidelines, and employ up-to-date, state-of-the art security systems. Panama is also a foreign exchange center partly because there are no valuation or conversion concerns. Its currency, the balboa, is equal in valuation to the U.S. dollar. Panama is the only independent country that has this exclusive right.
A Panama financial overview reveals that the equity market of the country is small and illiquid. While the banking industry is a favored offshore destination and serves as a significant foreign market, it is still the insurance industry of the country that serves its domestic market. The insurance, securities, and other non-banking sectors are smaller than the banking sector. In Panama, there are no levies or restrictions on transfer of funds. In fact, funds may be freely transferred in and out of the country, regardless of the purpose. The Overseas Private Investment Corporation in the United States provides guarantees on nationalization or expropriation and against inconvertibility of currency. This is an incredible advantage over many other countries, which strictly control the international movement of funds.
|Agriculture||Bananas, cocoa beans, coffee, coconuts, timber, shrimp, corn, potatoes, rice, soybeans & sugar cane.|
|Manufacture||Construction, brewing, cement and other construction materials & sugar milling.|
|Services (Including financial)||78.4% (2013 estimate)|
|Bering motors||Consumer goods|
|HSBC Bank (Panama)||Banking|
|National Bank of Panama||Banking|
|Aguas de Panama||Energy|
|National Union Fire Insurance||Insurance|
|Bahai Las Minas||Energy|
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Bolsa de Valores de Panama, S.A. (the “Panama Stock Exchange” or “PSE”) is a corporation formed under Panamanian law and authorized to operate a stock exchange in the Republic of Panama (“Panama”) pursuant to a resolution of the Comision Nacional de Valores (today, the Superintendencia del Mercado de Valores or “SUMEVAL”) of March 30, 1990. On June 26, 1990 the PSE began operations by performing its first negotiation session, which marked the beginning a new stage of development of the securities market in Panama. Throughout the ’90’s, the PSE consolidated its participation in the brokerage market, more participants became members of the Panama Stock Exchange, new issuers and investors got involved, new institutions offering support services arose, and every year since there has been a constant increase in negotiation volumes, increasing from US$3.3 million in 1990 to US$6,603 million in 2012. This improvement was the result of a positive environment, characterized by the reestablishment of political stability, accompanied by profound economic reforms, as well as the equalization in tax treatment received by the different financial instruments, which allowed for the elimination of tax bias that existed until the year 1991, that also worked against the securities market. Parallel to the quantitative evolution described above, the PSE promoted measures to modernize the local securities market, emphasizing the creation of a central securities depository called Central Latinoamericana de Valores, S.A. (“Latin Clear”), which began operations in 1997 and today provides clearing and settlement services for stock operations through an electronic system, thus eliminating risks and inefficiencies in the settlement process, which was a manual process in the past.
Panama Scandal, exposure of corruption in France’s Chamber of Deputies, an episode much exploited in propaganda by the enemies of the Third Republic. To overcome a financial crisis in 1888, Compagnie Universelle du Canal Interocéanique (the French Panama Canal Company), originally sponsored by Ferdinand de Lesseps, needed to float a lottery loan to raise money. The required legislative approval was received from the Chamber of Deputies in April and from the Senate in June 1888. Although French investors contributed heavily, the company collapsed in February 1889 as a result of corruption and mismanagement. A judicial inquiry into the affairs of the company was opened after some delay, and in the autumn of 1892 two newspapers, La Libre Parole and La Cocarde, accused the government of complicity with the directors of the company. A royalist deputy, Jules Deldhaye, further charged that “more than 150” parliamentarians had taken bribes to vote for the lottery loan in 1888. A parliamentary commission of inquiry was set up, and on Nov. 28, 1892, Émile Loubet’s government was forced to resign.
The bribery had been managed by three men: Baron Jacques de Reinach, a financier, who died on Nov. 19, 1892, presumably by suicide, and two adventurers, Léopold Arton (properly Aaron) and Cornélius Herz, who subsequently fled abroad. Charles Baïhaut, a former minister of public works, confessed to having received money and was sentenced in March 1893 to five years’ imprisonment. The other parliamentarians were acquitted for lack of proof. Georges Clemenceau, an associate of Herz (through whom he was alleged to have received money from the British), was discredited and temporarily retired from political life. The Panama scandals (also known as the Panama Canal Scandal or Panama Affair) was a corruption affair that broke out in the French Third Republic in 1892, linked to the building of the Panama Canal. Close to a billion francs were lost when the French government took bribes to keep quiet about the Panama Canal Company's financial troubles, in what is regarded as the largest monetary corruption scandal of the 19th century.
On 4 February 1889, the Tribunal Civil de la Seine ordered the winding up of the Panama Canal Company in Paris. Work on the isthmus was stopped in the meantime, while the court-appointed liquidator arranged to maintain the existing buildings, tools and machinery. Within a few years, however, high losses were incurred due to the damp, warm climate. The French government delayed the liquidation further and further, because the take-over offers by various American companies seemed insufficient. An intermediate company could not be started for lack of capital. The liquidator appointed a commission of inquiry, whose 1890 report recommended continuation of the sluice canal and renewal of the 1878 contract with Colombia. This was agreed on in 1890 in Bogotá, to run until 1904. The dimensions of the bankruptcy were clear by 1892. Some 800,000 French people, including 15,000 single women, had lost their investments in the stocks, bonds and founder shares of the Panama Canal Company, to the considerable sum of approximately 1.8 billion gold Francs. From the nine stock issues, the Panama Canal Company received 1.2 billion gold Francs, 960 millions of which were invested in Panama, a large amount having been pocketed by financiers and politicians.
Panama was inhabited by several indigenous tribes prior to settlement by the Spanish in the 16th century. Panama broke away from Spain in 1821 and joined a union of Nueva Granada, Ecuador, and Venezuela named the Republic of Gran Colombia. When Gran Colombia dissolved in 1831, Panama and Nueva Granada remained joined, eventually becoming the Republic of Colombia. With the backing of the United States, Panama seceded from Colombia in 1903, allowing the Panama Canal to be built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers between 1904 and 1914. In 1977, an agreement was signed for the total transfer of the Canal from the United States to Panama by the end of the 20th century, which culminated on 31 December 1999.
Revenue from canal tolls continues to represent a significant portion of Panama's GDP, although commerce, banking, and tourism are major and growing sectors. Panama has the second largest economy in Central America and is also the fastest growing economy and largest per capita consumer in Central America. In 2013, Panama ranked 5th among Latin American countries in terms of the Human Development Index, and 59th in the world. Since 2010, Panama remains the second most competitive economy in Latin America, according to the World Economic Forum's Global Competitiveness Index. Covering around 40 percent of its land area, Panama's jungles are home to an abundance of tropical plants and animals – some of them to be found nowhere else on the planet. As the Spanish American wars of independence were heating up all across Latin America, Panama City was preparing for independence; however, their plans were accelerated by the unilateral Grito de La Villa de Los Santos (Cry from the Town of Saints), issued on November 10, 1821 by the residents of Azuero without backing from Panama City to declare their separation from the Spanish Empire.
In both Veraguas and the capital this act was met with disdain, although on differing levels. To Veraguas, it was the ultimate act of treason, while to the capital, it was seen as inefficient and irregular, and furthermore forced them to accelerate their plans. Nevertheless, the Grito was an event that shook the isthmus to its very core. It was a sign, on the part of the residents of Azuero, of their antagonism toward the independence movement in the capital. Those in the capital region in turn regarded the Azueran movement with contempt, since the separatists in Panama City believed that their counterparts in Azuero were fighting not only for independence from Spain, but also for their right to self-rule apart from Panama City once the Spaniards were gone. It was an incredibly brave move on the part of Azuero, which lived in fear of Colonel José Pedro Antonio de Faberge y de las Cuevas (1774–1841), and with good reason; the Colonel was a staunch loyalist, and had the entirety of the isthmus' military supplies in his hands. They feared quick retaliation and swift retribution against the separatists.
Juan Carlos Varela
The balboa (PAB) is, along with the United States dollar, one of the official currencies of Panama. It is named in honor of the Spanish explorer/conquistador Vasco Nunez de Balboa. The balboa is subdivided into 100 centesimos. The balboa replaced the Colombian peso in 1904 following the country's independence. The balboa has been tied to the United States dollar (which is also a legal tender in Panama) at an exchange rate of 1:1 since its introduction and has always circulated alongside dollars. In 1904, silver coins in denominations of 2 1?2, 5, 10, 25, and 50 centesimos were introduced. These coins were weight-related to the 25 gram 50 centesimos, making the 2 1?2 centesimos coin 1 1?4 grams. Its small size led to it being known as the "Panama pill" or the "Panama pearl". In 1907, copper-nickel 1?2 and 2 1?2 centesimos coins were introduced, followed by copper-nickel 5 centesimos in 1929. In 1930, coins for 1?10, 1?4, and 1?2 balboa were introduced, followed by 1 balboa in 1931, which were identical in size and composition to the corresponding U.S. coins. In 1935, bronze 1 centesimo coins were introduced, with 1 ¼ centesimo pieces minted in 1940.
The bank was authorized to issue up to 6,000,000 balboas worth of paper notes, but only 2,700,000 balboas were issued on 2 October 1941. A week later, Dr. Ricardo Adolfo de la Guardia Arango replaced Arias as president in a coup supported by the United States. The new government immediately closed the bank, withdrew the issued notes, and burned all unissued stocks of same. Very few of these so-called “Arias Seven Day” notes escaped incineration. The United States dollar (USD) is Federal Reserve Note and consists of 100 smaller cent units. The U.S. dollar is fiat money. It is the currency most used in international transactions and is the world's most dominant reserve currency.
Several countries use it as their official currency, and in many others it is the de facto currency. Besides the United States, it is also used as the sole currency in two British Overseas Territories in the Caribbean: the British Virgin Islands and the Turks and Caicos Islands. A few countries use only the U.S. Dollar for paper money, while the country mints its own coins, or also accepts U.S. coins that can be used as payment in U.S. dollars, such as the Susan B. Anthony dollar. The dollar was first based on the value and look of the Spanish dollar, used widely in Spanish America from the 16th to the 19th centuries. The first dollar coins issued by the United States Mint (founded 1792) were similar in size and composition to the Spanish dollar, minted in Mexico and Peru. The Spanish, U.S. silver dollars, and later, Mexican silver pesos circulated side by side in the United States, and the Spanish dollar and Mexican peso remained legal tender until the Coinage Act of 1857. The coinage of various English colonies also circulated.
|National Song||"Himno Istmeño"|
|Currency||Panamanian balboa (PAB)|
|GDP||92.948 Billion USD|
|GDP Growth Rate||5.8 Percent|
|GDP Per Capita||$23023.885 (PPP)|
< 1.0% Muslims
< 1.0% Hindus
< 1.0% Buddhists
< 1.0% Jews
< 1.0% Other Religions
Mestizo (Mixed Amerindian And White) 70%
Amerindian And Mixed (West Indian) 14%
President – Juan Carlos Varela
|Website||Go to the web|
|Public Debt||39.165 Percent|
|Unemployment Rate||5.815 Percent|
|Labor Force (Occupation)||-|