Panama says to earn $2.4 bln less in forecast canal fees by 2019

PANAMA CITY Tue May 13, 2014 4:37pm EDT

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PANAMA CITY May 13 (Reuters) - Panama's government will receive $2.4 billion less in revenue from its world famous canal over the next five years than it forecast nearly a decade ago, the country's finance minister said on Tuesday, citing changing cargo trends.

Finance Minister Frank de Lima said less dynamic trade would also weigh on revenue, but played down the impact of delays to a multi-billion expansion of the canal this year. The expansion work was interrupted earlier this year due to a disupte over cost overruns and later by a national strike.

De Lima added that Panama's public sector fiscal deficit was around 1.2 percent of gross domestic product in the first quarter of this year, broadly in line with the same period last year. (Reporting by Elida Moreno, Writing by David Alire Garcia; Editing by Simon Gardner)

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