The REAL Costa Rica
 



The Economy of Costa Rica

Economy - overview:

Costa Rica's basically stable economy depends on tourism, agriculture, and electronics exports. Poverty has remained at roughly 20% for nearly 20 years, and the strong social safety net that had been put into place by the government has eroded due to increased financial constraints on government expenditures. Immigration from Nicaragua has increasingly become a concern for the government. The estimated 300,000-500,000 Nicaraguans estimated to be in Costa Rica legally and illegally are an important source of (mostly unskilled) labor, but also place heavy demands on the social welfare system. Foreign investors remain attracted by the country's political stability and high education levels, and tourism continues to bring in foreign exchange. The government continues to grapple with its large internal and external deficits and sizable internal debt. Reducing inflation remains a difficult problem because of rising import prices, labor market rigidities, and fiscal deficits. The country also needs to reform its tax system and its pattern of public expenditure. The current administration has made it a priority to pass the necessary reforms to implement the US-Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA). CAFTA implementation would result in an improved investment climate.

Prior to the global economic crisis, Costa Rica enjoyed stable economic growth. The economy contracted 0.7% in 2009, but resumed growth at more than 3% in 2010. While the traditional agricultural exports of bananas, coffee, sugar, and beef are still the backbone of commodity export trade, a variety of industrial and specialized agricultural products have broadened export trade in recent years. High value added goods and services, including microchips, have further bolstered exports. Tourism continues to bring in foreign exchange, as Costa Rica's impressive biodiversity makes it a key destination for ecotourism. Foreign investors remain attracted by the country's political stability and relatively high education levels, as well as the fiscal incentives offered in the free-trade zones; and Costa Rica has attracted one of the highest levels of foreign direct investment per capita in Latin America. However, many business impediments, such as high levels of bureaucracy, difficulty of enforcing contracts, and weak investor protection, remain. Poverty has remained around 15-20% for nearly 20 years, and the strong social safety net that had been put into place by the government has eroded due to increased financial constraints on government expenditures. Unlike the rest of Central America, Costa Rica is not highly dependent on remittances as they only represent about 2% of GDP. Immigration from Nicaragua has increasingly become a concern for the government. The estimated 300,000-500,000 Nicaraguans in Costa Rica legally and illegally are an important source of - mostly unskilled - labor, but also place heavy demands on the social welfare system. The US-Central American-Dominican Republic Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR) entered into force on 1 January 2009, after significant delays within the Costa Rican legislature. CAFTA-DR will likely lead to increased foreign direct investment in key sectors of the economy, including the insurance and telecommunications sectors recently opened to private investors. President CHINCHILLA is likely to push for fiscal reform in the coming year, seeking to boost revenue, possibly through revised tax legislation, to fund an increase in security services and education.

Statistical Data

 
$51.17 billion (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 91
$49.12 billion (2009 est.)
$49.76 billion (2008 est.)
note: data are in 2010 US dollars
 
$35.78 billion (2010 est.)
 
4.2% (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 88
-1.3% (2009 est.)
2.7% (2008 est.)
 
$11,300 (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 99
$11,000 (2009 est.)
$11,300 (2008 est.)
note: data are in 2010 US dollars
 
agriculture: 6.5%
industry: 22.5%
services: 71% (2010 est.)
 
2.052 million
country comparison to the world: 119
note: this official estimate excludes Nicaraguans living in Costa Rica (2010 est.)
 
agriculture: 14%
industry: 22%
services: 64% (2006 est.)
 
7.3% (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 77
8.4% (2009 est.)
 
16% (2006 est.)
 
lowest 10%: 1.7%
highest 10%: 39.4% (2009)
 
50.3 (2009)
country comparison to the world: 23
45.9 (1997)
 
19.7% of GDP (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 120
 
revenues: $5.217 billion
expenditures: $7.083 billion (2010 est.)
 
14.6% of GDP (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 189
 
-5.2% of GDP (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 148
 
42.7% of GDP (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 67
42.1% of GDP (2009 est.)
 
5.7% (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 162
7.8% (2009 est.)
 
21.5% (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 7
23% (31 December 2009 est.)
 
17.091% (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 25
19.723% (31 December 2009 est.)
 
$3.484 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 104
$2.615 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
 
$18.68 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 84
$16.81 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
 
$18.07 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 84
$14.65 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
 
$1.445 billion (31 December 2010)
country comparison to the world: 99
$1.452 billion (31 December 2009)
$1.887 billion (31 December 2008)
 
bananas, pineapples, coffee, melons, ornamental plants, sugar, corn, rice, beans, potatoes; beef, poultry, dairy; timber
 
microprocessors, food processing, medical equipment, textiles and clothing, construction materials, fertilizer, plastic products
 
1.8% (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 134
 
9.29 billion kWh (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 92
 
8.247 billion kWh (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 91
 
166 million kWh (2008 est.)
 
70 million kWh (2008 est.)
 
263 bbl/day (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 114
 
47,000 bbl/day (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 103
 
2,087 bbl/day (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 112
 
44,110 bbl/day (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 92
 
0 bbl (1 January 2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 118
 
0 cu m (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 115
 
0 cu m (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 168
 
0 cu m (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 80
 
0 cu m (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 176
 
0 cu m (1 January 2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 124
 
-$1.299 billion (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 145
-$576 million (2009 est.)
 
$9.375 billion (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 90
$8.838 billion (2009 est.)
 
bananas, pineapples, coffee, melons, ornamental plants, sugar; beef; seafood; electronic components, medical equipment
 
US 33.6%, China 11.7%, Netherlands 11.7%, UK 11.5% (2010)
 
$12.95 billion (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 82
$10.88 billion (2009 est.)
 
raw materials, consumer goods, capital equipment, petroleum, construction materials
 
US 40.1%, Mexico 6.6%, Japan 5.6%, China 5.3% (2010)
 
$4.627 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 88
$4.066 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
 
$9.239 billion (30 June 2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 94
$8.59 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
 
$13.5 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 77
$12.39 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
 
$88.3 million (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 82
$544.6 million (31 December 2009 est.)
 
Costa Rican colones (CRC) per US dollar -
513 (2010)
573.29 (2009)
530.41 (2008)
519.53 (2007)
511.3 (2006)

 

 


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