Thursday 24 June 2021

Costa Rica Inflation Declines

Costa Ricans who suffered from intense sticker shock, especially on food items, during the early 2000s got encouraging news from the Central Bank this week: Inflation which had stayed the same the past two years appears ready to end this year at from 4.5% to 5.5%, a modest figure.

The final figure depends on when ICE’s hike in telephone bills previously approved by the regulatory agency SUTEL goes into effect. The Consumer Price Index stabilized during the first 10 months of this year, ending at 2.98%, according to the National Statistics and Census Institute.

Sutel approved a big jump in phone service prices with prices for the long-winded passing from 1,850 colones for 160 minutes to 3,339 colones. Although SUTEL made its ruling in September and the La Gazeta official notification has been made, ICE has announced no hike date yet.

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The inflation figures were what the Central Bank had predicted earlier this year. University of Costa Rica economist Max Soto observed that “inflation this year has been dominated by controlled prices. At the beginning of the year there were hikes and now there are reductions.”

Unusual in this country is that the price index puts great weight on the price of the lunch staple, the casado, a standard snack bar lunch including a piece of meat, rice, beans and a couple of vegetables. The price average for this plate dropped during October.

Agricultural goods rose slightly but price of fuel, which is always sensitive to international influences, has stayed stable despite rises and reductions reflecting international market fluctuations. ICE no longer must augment lower production from its dams as normal rainfall returned this year.

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