Costa Rica inflation surges in June; travel, food lead the pack

July 4, 2008

The cost of living in Costa Rica keeps getting higher, as the consumer price index for June saw the second highest spike this year, registering at 1.4 percent, according to the National Statistics and Census Institute (INEC).

So far this year, consumers have seen 6.55 percent inflation in basic goods and services, easily threatening to surpass the Central Bank´s goal of 8 percent for 2008. Inflation for the past 12 months has now reached 12.82 percent.

That year-to-year rate for June is the second highest in 10 years. The highest was in June 2005 at 13.76 percent.

The consumer price index measures the average variation in price of a group of most commonly used goods and services. In June, 73 percent of the items in this basic basket increased, while 18 percent decreased.

Prices for transportation, and food and non-alcoholic beverages spiked the most last month at 2.98 percent and 2.09 percent, respectively. INEC pointed to rising gas and plane ticket prices for high transportation costs, while increases in the price of tomatoes and cilantro caused higher food bills.

The only sector in which prices dropped, by 0.07 percent, was rent and utilities.

Costa Rican consumers have been hit hard on the road and in the markets during the past 12 months. INEC reported that food and beverage prices increased 23.61 percent, eating in restaurants 16.59 percent and transportation 11.89 percent from June 2007 to the same period this year.

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