San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Economy Sputters to Lowest Growth Since ’02

The Costa Rican economy slowed last month to the smallest growth rate in six years, the Central Bank said this week.

The bank’s Monthly Index of Economic Activity showed Costa Rica’s economy in grew just 2.6 percent year over year in June, the smallest growth registered since March 2002.

According to the daily La Nación, the Central Bank foresaw economic problems this year and lowered its estimate of economic growth for 2008 from 3.8 to 3.2 percent.

Agriculture, mining and industry, including the technology powerhouse Intel, were among the sectors of the economy that have fallen in production, the daily said.

Surging oil prices earlier this year and high inflation have also been plaguing the Costa Rican economy, and the colón has fallen sharply against the dollar in recent months.

Last week, the Central Bank spent $62.9 million of its international reserves trying to keep the colón afloat.

Since April, the bank has dumped $902.5 million, or 18.3 percent, of its reserves.


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