Consumer prices in Costa Rica fell by 0.16 percent during the month of November, marking the second time this year that the country has experienced deflation.
For the year, the inflation rate was 2.57 percent, the lowest annual consumer price increase since 1972. At this time last year, the rate of inflation stood at 16.30 percent. The largest decrease in consumer prices this month was at the gas pump, as the cost of gasoline fell more than 0.11 percent. The price of gasoline traditionally is the driving force for fluctuation in the inflation rate; the high inflation rate of 2008 stemmed largely from the high cost of fuel. The overall cost of transportation rose only 0.91 percent in 2009.
Average prices also fell for cars, chicken, papayas and cable television. Price increases were seen in bus fares, 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 be between 4 and 6 percent. Barring a huge leap in consumer prices before the end of the year, 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.