Costa Rica inflation again breaks 10-year record

October 31, 2008

Prices increased 16.3 percent in the past 12 months, breaking a 10-year inflation record set in September.

Prices for food and nonalcoholic drinks increased by 26.7 percent over the 12 months ending in October, while transportation increased by 20.4 percent, and restaurant food increased by 19.5 percent, according to a monthly report by the National Statistics and Census Institute (INEC) released yesterday.

The institute measures inflation using a basket of 292 goods and services. In October, 72 percent of the basket´s contents increased in price, while 18 percent decreased and 10 percent stayed the same.

The goods and services that most contributed to an October inflation of 1.04 percent were water, taxi fares, potatoes, tomatoes and the casado, a popular Tico dish that includes rice, meat, beans and salad.

As salaries fail to keep pace with inflation, more Costa Ricans are slipping over the poverty line. An INEC study released late last month showed that 17.7 percent of households were poor in July 2007, up from 16.7 percent 12 months earlier.

During those 12 months, real salaries grew just 0.3 percent for employees of private firms, and they shrunk by 1.2 percent for domestic servants. State employees saw their real wages grow by 4 percent.

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