05/24  Closing Prices / revised 05/24/2024 21:59 GMT 05/23    OPEC Basket  $82.41  -$0.86 cents     | 05/24    Mexico Basket (MME) $73.35  +$0.89 cents   | 04/30 Venezuela Basket (Merey)   $74.91   +$3.93 cents | 05/24   NYMEX WTI Texas Intermediate June CLM24   $77.72   +$0.85 cents  | 05/24    ICE Brent July  BRNN24     $82.1     +$0.76 cents    | 05/24    NYMEX Gasoline June RBM24     $2.48  +0.6%    |  05/24   NYMEX  Heating Oil June  HOM 24     $2.41   +0.1% | 05/24     Natural Gas June NGM24  $2.52     -5.2%   | 05/24    Active U.S. Rig Count (Oil & Gas)    600  -4  | 05/24   USD/MXN Mexican Peso  16.6948  (data live)  | 05/24   EUR/USD    1.0847 (data live)  | 05/27   US/Bs. (Bolivar)   $36.51290000 ( data BCV)  

Panama Elects Jose Mulino As New President Pledging to Shut Down Migrant Trail

Presidential candidate Jose Raul Mulino celebrates after winning the general election in Panama City, Panama, Sunday, May 5, 2024. (Matias Delacroix /AP)
Presidential candidate Jose Raul Mulino celebrates after winning the general election in Panama City, Panama, Sunday, May 5, 2024. (Matias Delacroix /AP)

Michael McDonald, Bloomberg News

EnergiesNet.com 05 06 2024

Panama elected investor favorite Jose Raul Mulino as its new president drawing voters with his pledge to revive the once-stellar economy, crack down on drug cartels and shut down migration routes to the US. 

Mulino ran as the substitute for fugitive former leader Ricardo Martinelli, who was banned from participating and sought asylum in the Nicaraguan embassy after a court upheld a conviction for money laundering.

With 94% of votes tallied on Sunday, Mulino, a 64-year-old lawyer, had 34% of the vote, to 25% for his nearest rival Ricardo Lombana. The electoral authority declared Mulino the winner, and the other main candidates all conceded. 

“We’ll promote a government that’s pro-investment, and pro-private enterprise,” Mulino told supporters in his victory speech. 

He will take office on July 1, replacing President Laurentino Cortizo, who was not eligible for reelection. Early results for congress indicated a fragmented legislature. 

The nation has been battered by unrest, credit rating downgrades, low water levels in the Panama canal and the closing of a major copper mine. During the campaign, Mulino said he would use public works projects and incentives for foreign investors to target nominal economic growth of 7%. 

For much of this century, Panama had the top performing economy in Latin America, but it will grow just 2.5% this year, according to the International Monetary Fund.  

Investors are focused on whether Mulino will find a way to reopen First Quantum Minerals Ltd’s $10 billion copper mine. Following months of violent protests, the supreme court ruled in December that a contract for the mine violated the constitution, and ordered it shut. The project represented 5% of gross domestic product, and was a large source of tax revenue and exports. 

In his concession speech, Lombana warned Mulino against attempting to renegotiate the mine contract, warning that this would bring people into the streets. 

Fitch cut the country to junk in March citing large fiscal deficits aggravated by the loss of the copper revenue. S&P and Moody’s still rate the country one notch above junk, but the once market-darling risks further downgrades if the next government doesn’t pursue tax and pension reforms and seek to reopen the mine, according to local economist Rene Quevedo. 

Mulino will also need to weigh environmental concerns and community protests as the country seeks new sources of water for the Panama canal after a severe drought this year forced it to restrict transits through the waterway. 

Panama’s debt already trades as though it were junk, and investors demand about 40 extra basis points to hold Panama compared to the average risk premium for BB-rated sovereign securities, according to JPMorgan Chase & Co. data. 

US Election

Mulino’s policies could potentially have an impact on the US presidential election in November, at which migration is one of voters’ main concerns. 

He’s said he’ll shut the trails through the dense jungle region between Colombia and Panama. More than half a million migrants, mostly Venezuelan, passed through this route last year, making Panama one of the most important transit countries for people hoping to reach the US. 

He also promised a “full-frontal assault” on drug trafficking. Mulino served as security minister during Martinelli’s administration from 2009-2014. A court upheld a money laundering conviction against Martinelli this year and barred him from running for president. 

bloomberg.com 05 05 2024

Share this news

Support EnergiesNet.com

By Elio Ohep · Launched in 1999 under Petroleumworld.com

Information & News on Latin America’s Energy, Oil, Gas, Renewables, Climate, Technology, Politics and Social issues

Contact : editor@petroleuworld.com

CopyRight©1999-2021, EnergiesNet.com™  / Elio Ohep – All rights reserved

This site is a public free site and it contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner.We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of business, environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have chosen to view the included information for research, information, and educational purposes. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission fromPetroleumworld or the copyright owner of the material.

Scroll to Top