Exports of goods from Costa Rica rose 2.3 percent in the first nine months of 2015 compared with the same period of 2014, the Foreign Trade Ministry (COMEX) reported Monday. If, that is, you leave out electronic components.
The so-called “Intel effect,” which refers to the sharp decline in Costa Rica’s electronics exports caused by last year’s closure of chip manufacturer Intel’s Costa Rica plant, still influences the country’s overall export figures. If exports of electronic components are included in comparisons between this year and last, there’s been an overall 16.7 percent decline in exports.
Foreign Trade Minister Alexander Mora Delgado said that the country’s export performance is not a surprise. Rather, he said, it confirms the government’s forecast following Intel’s exit.
Mora said Costa Rican exports follow what’s happening in the region and the world. “Actually, if this behavior continues, we will meet at least 96 percent of our export goal for this year,” he noted.
The COMEX report states that exports of goods rose from $6.53 billion recorded in the January-September 2014 period, to $6.68 billion in the same period this year, if excluding exports of electronic components.
If including them, export figures dropped from $8.73 billion in the first nine months of 2014 to $7.27 billion this year. Total export figures in the electrical and electronic devices sector are down by 73 percent, according to the report.
Agricultural exports down
Export figures declined in other sectors as well. Sales abroad of livestock and fish fell 6 percent, from $269 million in 2014 to $251 million this year.
Agricultural exports overall dropped slightly from $2 billion in the first nine months of 2014 to $1.88 billion this year. Results, however, were cushioned by good coffee sales, which were up by 17 percent, mostly to the U.S., Belgium and Australia. Coffee exports to Australia grew by 80 percent.
The medical device sector continues to lead positive export figures, showing an increase of 24 percent so far this year over last. Ministry officials attribute the growth largely to increased exports to the U.S., Belgium and Japan.
Results were also positive in exports of chemical products, which were up 7 percent, and in the food sector, which grew by 4 percent.
Services maintain positive figures
COMEX also reported that exports of services between July 2014 and June 2015 reached $6.45 billion — 4.4 percent higher than during the same period the previous year (2013-2014).
Ministry officials say this is thanks to a sustained growth in the tourism, IT and business services sectors. The tourism services sector recorded the greatest growth, from $2.73 billion last year to $2.93 billion during the same time period this year.
The COMEX analysis states that exports of services have trended upwards over the past four years, although the pace of growth has slowed recently as a result of lower exports in sectors such as transport and financial services.