In Panama, the balboa, which is divided into 100 centésimos, is the basic monetary unit. Nonetheless, U.S. paper money and coinage are widely circulated, is the normal legal currency, and no exchange control is exercised. The National Bank of Panama (1904) is the official bank.
The major source of government revenue in Panama is associated with the operation of the Panama Canal, which was turned over by the United States to the Government of Panama in 2000.
The country’s chief exports are gold, bananas, petroleum products, shrimp, raw sugar, and coffee. The U.S. receives more than 60% of Panama’s exports. Imports, mostly from the United States, Mexico, and Japan, consist primarily of mineral fuels, machinery, chemicals, transportation equipment, and basic manufactured products.
The wage labor force in Panama includes less than one-third of the total population. About 30% of this labor force is employed in agriculture, forestry, and fishing, and approximately 47% works in commerce, finance, and services. Approximately 17% of the work force belongs to labor unions.