San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Inflation Perks Up After Year-Long Slumber

Prices on a range of goods and services, from beverages to taxi rides, rose enough last month to bump inflation up 1.63 percent, Costa Rica’s highest monthly price increase since August 2008, according to a report released Tuesday by the National Statistics and Census Institute (INEC).

Driving the push last month were increases in the cost of home rentals and education, as well as medical and transportation services, INEC said. Transportation prices rose 3.52 percent in January, reaching a nearly 12 percent annual increase.

Last year saw price increases slump – and in some cases decline – leading to an overall inflation rate for 2009 of 4.05 percent. That rate was the lowest since at least 1977, when the country began keeping count, according to Aldesa, a San José financial Consulting firm. The low inflation rate was the result of the global economic and financial crisis, which dragged down the cost of raw materials and, consequently, the price of many everyday goods and services.

–Alex Leff

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