Costa Rica’s trade deficit during the first half of the year reached $2.75 billion, more than twice the $1.35 billion deficit registered during the same period last year, according to the Central Bank.
The widening deficit is the result of a 28 percent increase in the country’s imports and a much slower 6 percent increase in exports during the first six months.
Imports increased from $6.01 billion during the first half of 2007 to $7.72 during the same period last year. Exports increased from $4.67 billion to $4.97 billion.
The main import categories were raw materials for industry ($3 billion) and fuels ($1 billion). The speed at which imports have increased is attributed to higher international food and oil prices.
The leading exports were Intel microprocessors ($1.06 billion), followed by other free zone exports ($1.04 billion), processed foods ($531 million), bananas ($338 million), pineapples ($304 million) and coffee ($237 million), among others.
Government officials attributed the slow rate of growth in the country’s exports to delays in the implementation of the Central American Free-Trade Agreement with the United States (CAFTA) and the slowdown in that country, which is by far Costa Rica’s main export market.
Last year, Costa Rica finished the year with a $3.62 billion trade deficit, which marked an eight percent increase over the $3.35 deficit registered in 2006.