"We have a very successful financing package put in place even in this unstable financial market," Alberto Aleman, the canal's administrator, said in an interview in Tokyo yesterday.
Expanding the 94-year-old canal will ease congestion and let larger cargo vessels, bulk carriers and oil tankers pass through. About 27 percent of the world's container ships are too big for the 50-mile (80-kilometer) canal, a figure that will rise to 37 percent by 2011, the authority has said.
So-called panamax ships, designed specifically to fit the canal, can carry 4,000 twenty-foot containers. Expansion will let cape-size vessels with as many as 12,600 containers transit the waterway linking the Pacific and Atlantic oceans.
The system of designation for the IDB loan of $500 million is still under discussion by the authorities of the Central Reserve Bank.
The president of the institution, Luz Maria de Portillo, said that the Board of Directors is still dealing with the matter.
Meanwhile, the productive sectors have expressed their expectation that the funds will be channeled as soon as possible since the funds will help to inject capital into the local economy and to reinvigorate it.
It is indispensable for the economy to continue using credit to finance production and commercial operations.
The analysis by Raul Moreira published in the La Estrella in Panama emphasizes that "the demand for internal credit by the private sector was at $31.6 billion in October and continued to grow at 20.38%, while deposits had an increase of 24.69%, which shows that the main source of financing for the expansion of credit comes from domestic savings by individuals. Prudence and caution is recommended for credit policies and it is important to maintain the rhythm of capturing funding."
The weak economy didn’t hurt Fresh Del Monte Produce Inc. in the third quarter. In fact, market conditions are working in its favor.
“Our competitive situation is growing stronger every day,” chairman and chief executive officer Mohammad Abu-Ghazaleh said during an Oct. 28 conference call. “What we are noticing right now in the market is small growers and other exporters and distributors are feeling the credit squeeze.”
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