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Costa Rica Economy Profile 2018

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Economy - overviewSince 2010, Costa Rica has enjoyed strong and stable economic growth - 4.3% in 2016. Exports of bananas, coffee, sugar, and beef are the backbone of its commodity exports. Various industrial and processed agricultural products have broadened exports in recent years, as have high value-added goods, including medical devices. Costa Rica's impressive biodiversity also 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 incentives offered in the free-trade zones; Costa Rica has attracted one of the highest levels of foreign direct investment per capita in Latin America. The US-Central American-Dominican Republic Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR), which became effective for Costa Rica in 2009, helped increase foreign direct investment in key sectors of the economy, including insurance and telecommunication. However, poor infrastructure, high energy costs, a complex bureaucracy, weak investor protection, and uncertainty of contract enforcement impede greater investment.

Costa Rica’s economy also faces challenges due to a rising fiscal deficit, rising public debt, and relatively low levels of domestic revenue. Poverty has remained around 20-25% for nearly 20 years, and the government’s strong social safety net has eroded due to increased constraints on its expenditures. Costa Rica’s credit rating was downgraded from stable to negative in 2015, upping pressure on lending rates - which could hurt small business, on the budget deficit - which could hurt infrastructure development, and on the rate of return on investment - which could soften foreign direct investment (FDI). Unlike the rest of Central America, Costa Rica is not highly dependent on remittances - which represented just 0.7% of GDP in 2015, but instead relies on FDI - which accounted for 4% of GDP.
GDP (purchasing power parity)$85.2 billion (2017 est.)
$82.08 billion (2016 est.)
$78.68 billion (2015 est.)
note: data are in 2017 dollars
GDP (official exchange rate)$58.91 billion (2016 est.)
GDP - real growth rate3.8% (2017 est.)
4.3% (2016 est.)
4.7% (2015 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP)$17,200 (2017 est.)
$16,700 (2016 est.)
$16,200 (2015 est.)
note: data are in 2017 dollars
Gross national saving16.2% of GDP (2017 est.)
16.5% of GDP (2016 est.)
15.9% of GDP (2015 est.)
GDP - composition, by end usehousehold consumption: 63.6%
government consumption: 17.2%
investment in fixed capital: 19.3%
investment in inventories: 0.4%
exports of goods and services: 32.9%
imports of goods and services: -33.3% (2017 est.)
GDP - composition by sectoragriculture: 5.5%
industry: 21%
services: 73.5% (2017 est.)
Population below poverty line21.7% (2014 est.)
Labor force2.229 million
note: official estimate; excludes Nicaraguans living in Costa Rica (2017 est.)
Labor force - by occupationagriculture: 14%
industry: 22%
services: 64% (2006 est.)
Unemployment rate8.1% (2017 est.)
9.3% (2016 est.)
Unemployment, youth ages 15-24total: 23.3%
male: 18.8%
female: 31.7% (2016 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage sharelowest 10%: 1.5%
highest 10%: 36.9% (2014 est.)
Distribution of family income - Gini index48.5 (2014)
49.2 (2013)
Budgetrevenues: $8.262 billion
expenditures: $11.34 billion (2017 est.)
Taxes and other revenues14% of GDP (2017 est.)
Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)-5.2% of GDP (2017 est.)
Public debt66.2% of GDP (2017 est.)
62.7% of GDP (2016 est.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices)1.7% (2017 est.)
0% (2016 est.)
Central bank discount rate3.5% (31 December 2016 est.)
21.5% (31 December 2010)
Commercial bank prime lending rate11.8% (31 December 2017 est.)
11.64% (31 December 2016 est.)
Stock of narrow money$5.765 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$5.536 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Stock of broad money$22.52 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$21.85 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Stock of domestic credit$34.3 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$33.43 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares$2.015 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
$1.443 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
$1.445 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
Agriculture - productsbananas, pineapples, coffee, melons, ornamental plants, sugar, corn, rice, beans, potatoes; beef, poultry, dairy; timber
Industriesmedical equipment, food processing, textiles and clothing, construction materials, fertilizer, plastic products
Industrial production growth rate4.4% (2017 est.)
Current Account Balance-$2.291 billion (2017 est.)
-$1.88 billion (2016 est.)
Exports$10.55 billion (2017 est.)
$10.15 billion (2016 est.)
Exports - commoditiesbananas, pineapples, coffee, melons, ornamental plants, sugar; beef; seafood; electronic components, medical equipment
Exports - partnersUS 41%, Netherlands 5.8%, Panama 5.7%, Belgium 5.4%, Nicaragua 5.2%, Guatemala 5.2% (2016)
Imports$15.55 billion (2017 est.)
$14.66 billion (2016 est.)
Imports - commoditiesraw materials, consumer goods, capital equipment, petroleum, construction materials
Imports - partnersUS 37.1%, China 13.5%, Mexico 6.9% (2016)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold$7.523 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$7.574 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Debt - external$25.83 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$24.3 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - at home$35.01 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$31.84 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad$4.327 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$3.781 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Exchange ratesCosta Rican colones (CRC) per US dollar -
573.5 (2017 est.)
544.74 (2016 est.)
544.74 (2015 est.)
534.57 (2014 est.)
538.32 (2013 est.)
Fiscal yearcalendar year

Source: CIA World Factbook
This page was last updated on January 20, 2018

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