Costa Rican exports slowed through July, lifting the trade deficit to $3.3 billion – nearly twice the trade deficit during the same period last year.
The Central Bank reported Tuesday on its Web site www.bccr.fi.cr, that while exports in the first seven months of 2008 surpassed $5.7 billion, imports grossed just over $9 billion.
By July 2007, Costa Rica ran close to a $1.7 billion deficit, 96.5 percent below this year’s seven-month figure.
“(Higher trade deficit) was expected but not in the magnitude we’re seeing,” said Betty Sánchez, of the bank’s economic analysis and consultancy department.
“What we’ve been seeing is a lower rise in exports largely due to lower foreign demand, and particularly the slowed growth in the United States, and, on other the hand, a higher value on imports,” Sánchez said.
During this year’s first seven months, exports rose only 6.3 percent above 2007’s total of just under $5.4 billion. Imports through July, meanwhile, were up 27.7 percent over the $7 billion in goods brought into the country during the same period last year.
Costa Rica‘s biggest sellers are computer chips, bananas, pineapples, medicine and medical equipment, textiles and coffee.
Sánchez explained import value is being driven by the dramatic increases in fuel and basic grain in the past year.