San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Costa Rica sees deflation in November

Consumer prices in Costa Rica fell by 0.16 percent during the month of November, marking the second time in 2009 that the country has experienced deflation. For the year, the inflation rate was at 2.57 percent, the lowest annual consumer price increase since 1972. At this point in time last year, the rate of inflation stood at 16.30 percent.

The largest decrease in consumer prices was felt at the gas pump, as the cost of gasoline fell more than 0.11 percent for the month. The price of gasoline is traditionally the driving force for fluctuation in the inflation rate, as the high inflation rate of 2008 stemmed largely from the high price of fuel. The overall cost of transportation has risen only 0.91 percent in 2009.

Average consumer prices also fell for car purchases, chicken, papayas and cable television. Increases in prices were seen in bus costs, sweet peppers, casados (a staple lunchtime dish featuring meat and rice and beans), home rentals and tourist packages.

In September, the Central Bank of Costa Rica predicted the inflation rate for the year would reach between 4 and 6 percent. Barring a huge leap in consumer prices, those figures will not be met. The highest increase rate in 2009 was seen in July, when the consumer price index rose 0.92 percent. 

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