* Economy boosted by transport, ports, telecoms
* Economy expected to grow 9 pct this year
PANAMA CITY, June 24 (Reuters) - Panama’s economic activity increased 6.8 percent in April compared with the same period a year earlier, the government statistics agency said on Friday.
Panama’s economy was boosted by port activity, air transportation and telecommunications, the agency reported.
Increased vehicle and gasoline sales, in spite of high fuel prices, boosted consumption, while mining, tourism and construction also helped the economy.
The Central American nation’s dollarized, services economy is among Latin America’s top performers and is being helped by the $5.25-billion expansion of the Panama Canal, government infrastructure spending and foreign investment.
Panama’s economy is set to expand by 9 percent this year and 7 percent in 2012, the economy ministry said this month.
Some economists have warned that Panama risks overheating, as high inflation is accompanying growth.
Panama’s economy expanded by 9.7 percent in the first quarter of the year and inflation topped a more-than two-year high at 6.4 percent in May. (Reporting by Sean Mattson; editing by Carol Bishopric)