QCOSTARICA – In Costa Rica, there is little demand for products beyond those for basic consumption and the problems faced by the trade due to the fall in its sales are evident.
However, this behavior is not due to the lack of desire of Costa Ricans, but because of the difficult economic situation they face.
This is evidenced by different studies carried out in recent months.
For example, for 58 out of 100 Ticos, their economic and family situation worsened in a matter of a year, according to the UCR Consumer Confidence Survey in November.
This influences the fact that almost half of those consulted in the same study admitted that they face some or great financial difficulties.
In turn, when asked if they consider that they can buy certain items for the home, travel and other expenses in the short term, the positive responses were less than 30%.
And, at present 20% of the population makes payments for debts that represent 62.5% or more of their income, some cases even exceeding 150%, revealed a recent study by the Oficina del Consumidor Financiero (OCF) – Office of the Financial Consumer.
“Total debts can be double the income they receive. How do they live? I have no idea, possibly one member of the couple is dedicated to paying debts and the other to food, that’s how crude the situation is for some,” said Danilo Montero, director-general of the OCF.
For 62% of Costa Ricans, their income is insufficient or barely enough to cover basic expenses (opinion data in percentage from the Office of the Financial Consumer).
- It does not go far enough: 27%
- Enough for basic expenses: 35%
- For basics and more: 37%
- Don’t know: 1%
The warning is that there is the feeling that debts acquired are getting higher and higher. Between the second half of 2019 and the first half of 2020, the number of debtors in the regulated sector fell by 4%, but the average debt balance increased by 5%, a study by TEC and Equifax showed.
That finances are increasingly compromised is also explained by the fact that the growth in the amount of arrears occurs especially in unregulated financial entities (known to charge higher interest rates), increasing by 12% in that period.
In delinquencies, people between 40 and 51 years of age have the highest average amounts owing according to data from Equifax and the TEC.