Costa Rica: Inflation moderates in February
March 6, 2012
In February, consumer prices rose 0.28% over the previous month, which was above the 0.17% price increase registered in January. The monthly increase reflected higher prices for alcohol beverages and tobacco as well as for education, which were only partially offset by lower prices for transport. Despite the monthly increase, annual inflation inched down from 4.2% in January to 4.1%, which marks the lowest level since December 2009. Meanwhile, the core inflation index, which smoothens short-term fluctuations in the consumer price index, added 0.44% in February, below the 0.68% increase seen in January. As a result of the monthly increase, annual core inflation inched up to 4.6% in February from 4.5% in January. According to its Macroeconomic Programme 2012-2013, in the absence of fiscal reform the Central Bank intends to maintain an inflation target of 5.0% for both 2012 and 2013 (with a tolerance margin of 1.0 percentage points). The Bank also presented an alternative scenario, which takes into account the approval of the fiscal reform, in which monetary authorities lower their inflation target to 4.0% for both 2012 and 2013.