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PANAMA CITY, July 25 (Reuters) - Panama's economy expanded in May at its slowest pace since 2009 as major public works projects, including an expansion of the Panama Canal, slowed or wrapped up, dragging on the construction and mining sector.
Panama's economy grew 1.71 percent in May compared to the same period a year earlier, the government said on Friday, well below the 2.74 percent growth posted in April and the slowest pace of expansion since November 2009.
Work on the multibillion-dollar Panama Canal project slowed as it nears completion, after a spat earlier this year between contractors and the authority in charge threatened to derail it.
The conclusion of other public works projects in recent months also cut into demand for building materials such as cement.
Panama, a Central American country with a population of about 3.7 million people, has seen its economy grow at an average annual rate of 8.5 percent over the past five years, boosted by $15 billion worth of infrastructure projects. (Reporting by Elida Moreno, editing by G Crosse)