The economy of the Dominican Republic grew 7 percent last year and established itself as the most robust in the Latin American and Caribbean region.

The governor of the country's Central Bank credited in part the drop in international oil prices and the strengthening of the U.S. economy. Hector Valdez said Wednesday that the Dominican Republic's GDP grew 7 percent for the second consecutive year with help from strong performances in construction, tourism and banking.

He said foreign exchange earnings from tourism, remittances, foreign investment and exports of goods and services exceeded $23 billion.

Panama also showed a strong economy, with its GDP growing 6 percent last year.

Latin America overall saw a nearly 1 percent drop in its GDP.