LatinNews Daily - 03 May 2023

In brief: Costa Rica’s Chaves hails economic achievements

* In a speech ahead of his one-year anniversary in office on 8 May, Costa Rica’s President Rodrigo Chaves has boasted various economic achievements. He claimed that the unemployment rate had dropped to 11% down from 13.3%, which he said was the lowest of the last four years, and that 61,000 new jobs had been created. He said that the government had lowered the cost of living through cutting the cost of basic goods such as rice, which he said was reduced in price by between 27%-33% through liberalising trade – a move which nonetheless has proven controversial with the agricultural lobby. He also claimed that for 75 new products included in the basic basket of goods, consumers now pay 1% of value added tax rather than 13%. Regarding macroeconomic achievements, Chaves said that his government had reduced public debt and the country closed 2022 with a primary surplus of 2.3% of GDP – the first time in nearly two decades that a government had managed such a result. He said that this and “other good policies” resulted in 4.3% GDP growth in 2022, which he said was well above the 3.6% average for Latin America & the Caribbean. He said that these results were in line with targets agreed with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) with which Costa Rica has a US$1.78bn Extended Fund Facility (EFF) arrangement agreed in 2021.

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