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    Costa Rica Economy 1998

      Economy - overview Costa Rica's basically stable and progressive economy depends especially on tourism and the export of bananas, coffee, and other agricultural products. Poverty has been substantially reduced over the past 15 years, and a strong social safety net has been put in place. Recent trends, however, have been disappointing. Economic growth slipped from 4.3% in 1994 to 2.5% in 1995, and to 0.9% in 1996, and then rebounded in 1997 to 3%. Inflation rose to 22.5% in 1995 from 13.5% in 1994, receded to 17.5% in 1996, then dropped to 11.2% in 1997. Unemployment appears moderate at 5.7%, but substantial underemployment continues. Furthermore, substantial government deficits have undermined efforts to maintain the quality of social services. The government thus faces a formidable set of problems: to curb inflation, reduce the deficit, encourage domestic savings, and improve public sector efficiency while increasing the role of the private sector, all this in harmony with IMF agreements. One important positive development - the infusion of more than $200 million in 1997 by microchip giant Intel and the anticipated attraction of other high-tech firms to Costa Rica will help stimulate growth and employment over the next several years.

      GDP purchasing power parity - $19.6 billion (1997 est.)

      GDP - real growth rate 3% (1997 est.)

      GDP - per capita purchasing power parity - $5,500 (1997 est.)

      GDP - composition by sector
      agriculture: 18%
      industry: 24%
      services: 58% (1995)

      Inflation rate - consumer price index 11.2% (1997 est.)

      Labor force
      total: 868,300
      by occupation: industry and commerce 35.1%, government and services 33%, agriculture 27%, other 4.9% (1985 est.)

      Unemployment rate 5.7% (1997 est.); much underemployment

      revenues: $1.1 billion
      expenditures: $1.34 billion, including capital expenditures of $110 million (1991 est.)

      Industries food processing, textiles and clothing, construction materials, fertilizer, plastic products

      Industrial production growth rate 10.5% (1992)

      Electricity - capacity 1.094 million kW (1995)

      Electricity - production 4.53 billion kWh (1995)

      Electricity - consumption per capita 1,323 kWh (1995)

      Agriculture - products coffee, bananas, sugar, corn, rice, beans, potatoes; beef; timber (depletion of forest resources has resulted in declining timber output)

      total value: $2.9 billion (f.o.b., 1996)
      commodities: coffee, bananas, textiles, sugar
      partners: US, Germany, Italy, Guatemala, El Salvador, Netherlands, UK, France

      total value: $3.4 billion (c.i.f., 1996)
      commodities: raw materials, consumer goods, capital equipment, petroleum
      partners: US, Japan, Mexico, Guatemala, Venezuela, Germany

      Debt - external $3.2 billion (October 1996 est.)

      Economic aid
      recipient: ODA, $NA

      Currency 1 Costa Rican colon (C) = 100 centimos

      Exchange rates Costa Rican colones (C) per US$1 - 243.55 (December 1997), 232.60 (1997), 207.69 (1996), 179.73 (1995), 157.07 (1994), 142.17 (1993)

      Fiscal year calendar year

      NOTE: The information regarding Costa Rica on this page is re-published from the 1998 World Fact Book of the United States Central Intelligence Agency. No claims are made regarding the accuracy of Costa Rica Economy 1998 information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about Costa Rica Economy 1998 should be addressed to the CIA.

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    Revised 21-Dec-01
    Copyright © 2001 Photius Coutsoukis (all rights reserved)