Panama consumer prices up 1.4 pct in Jan




PANAMA CITY, Feb 15 (Reuters) - Consumer prices in Panama rose 1.4 percent in January from December, while 12-month inflation at the end of the first month of the year was 7.6 percent, the government said on Friday.


The January rise was driven by a 4.2 percent increase in housing, water, gas and electricity prices, driven by higher electricity and cement costs, the comptroller general's office said in a report.


Food and drink prices rose 2 percent last month, while an increase in fuel prices nudged up transport costs 0.8 percent.

Panama's dollarized economy grew 10 percent last year and is expected to expand up to 8 percent in 2008, as the U.S. economy slows. (Reporting by Andrew Beatty; Editing by Diane Craft)