- Category: Business
- Published on Friday, July 29 2011 02:41
- Written by Rod Hughes
- Hits: 555
With a bit more than half of 2011 gone, the PROCOMER export promotion agency is confidently predicting that its $1.45 billion export goal in goods and services will be reached by the end of the year.
Confidence continues, despite exports (goods only) being only at the 35% mark. The figure comes from the Central Bank's tracking of this country's international trade.
But much depends upon Costa Rica's biggest trading partner, the United States, and whether its Congress can overcome a political deadlock that still continues as this article is written. The gridlock over raising the debt ceiling to avoid a default on its debt payments, unprecedented in U.S. history, could have deadening effects on that country's consumer markets.
PROCOMER bases its prediction on Central Bank projections and consultations with production sectors. Its figures show a 7.7% increase over 2010 export figures during the same period, even surpassing exports in 2008, before the world recession hit.
Industrial exports, which account for 77% of this country's presence in the world market, showed the biggest gains, despite a decline in electronics which are down 9.5%. Chemicals, electro-mechanical and plastic products surged 34%, 27% and 28%, respectively.
Coffee, despite a disappointing tonnage in the last harvest which was only a 2.9% increase over 2010, found excellent prices abroad. The increase in foreign exchange was a healthy 42%. This country's coffee is considered gourmet and demands top dollar.
This country's coffee production is low because farmers are replacing older trees that had passed their peak production life. The Ministry of Agriculture pushed the change but exporters now must await new plantations still maturing.
However, a relatively new export, melons, showed a sharp decline in metric tons of 17.3% and of 8.7% in foreign exchange earned. Augustin Penon, head of the Melon Producers' and Exporters' Chamber, warned in June that if farmers suffered a reduction of more than a quarter in sales, they would have to change crops.