Monday 2 October 2023

The cost of living in Costa Rica skyrockets!

Year-on-year inflation stands at 11.48% and is the highest in the last decade. Tomatoes and potatoes had significant increases in the last 12 months.

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30 September 2023 - At The Banks - Source: BCCR

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QCOSTARICA – According to data from the Instituto Nacional de Estadística y Censos  (INEC), the cost of living in Costa Rica has skyrocketed, with year-on-year inflation standing at 11.48%, the highest in the last decade

Tomatoes and potatoes had significant increases in the last 12 months.

According to the Consumer Price Index (CPI), the price of products such as tomatoes, onions and potatoes caused interannual inflation in Costa Rica to reach historic levels, published by the INEC, the National Institute of Statistics and Censuses.

The monthly inflation for July was 1.09% and the accumulated inflation, which goes from January to July this year, stood at 8.52%.

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Seven out of ten goods and services rose in price in the country.

Some of the most consumed foods in households that increased the most are the price of tomatoes that more than doubled in the last 12 months ending in July 2022; potatoes increased 74%; and that of cooking oil, 65%.

Among the other foods whose prices have increased the most in the last 12 months are green beans, sweet peppers, lettuce, watermelon and cassava.

Other foods that show significant increases in the last 12 months are processed foods, such as wheat flour, bread, butter, and meats such as chicken and eggs.

What this means in real terms is that what ¢100,000 colones spent on the purchase of food, one has to now spend ¢121,000 to buy the same thing,

Nelson Castillo, coordinator of the INEC Price Index Unit, explained that the increase in the cost of food hits, mainly, the poorest households because they are the ones that spend a greater part of their total spending on food purchases.

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Some of the factors that are influencing the increase in some products include the container crisis and the war in Ukraine and Russia, which has caused the decrease and increase in prices of fertilizers, agricultural supplies and raw materials.

Add to this is the high cost of fuel and electricity. Climatic phenomena, such as heavy rains affecting the country’s productive areas, are another contributing factor to skyrocketing costs.

Some relief to high prices could come in the fall of fule prices, important for farmers and other food producers. This could be a reality due to the international drop in fuel prices that the RECOPE (State refinery) purchases the final product, the government initiative to place a ceiling on gasoline and diesel prices at the pumps, and the appreciation shown by the exchange rate.


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