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What is the Costa Rican colon (CRC)?

Credit Ratings & Outlook

In the latest credit ratings from December 1970, Moody's gives Costa Rica a Baa3 rating, with a stable outlook. Fitch has a stable outlook with a BB+ rating. Finally, S&P last issued a BB rating, with a stable outlook.

Sovereign credit ratings play an important part in determining a country’s access to international capital markets, and the terms of that access. Sovereign ratings help to foster dramatic growth, stability, and efficiency of international and domestic markets.

GDP

In 2010 the total GDP was $35,831,464,225 in US Dollars, while the per capita GDP was $7,690. It grew by 4.23% over the previous year.

Unemployment

The latest unemployment rate for 2009 is 7.80%.

Consumer Price Index

The latest consumer price index for 2010 is 157.55.

Political Structure

The current head of the government is President Laura Chinchilla, who is also the head of state (in an executive role).

Currency Details

The Costa Rican colon, also denoted by CRC, is the official currency of Costa Rica. The colon is subdivided into 100 centimos, but coins are rarely used anymore due to inflation. In 1997, new coins were issued to replace the older coins.

When traveling, perhaps the currency slang would be helpful to know. People of Costa Rica call the 100 colon bill a “teja,” while the 500-colon bill is called a “cinco teja.” “Rojo” and “tucan” are the slang terms for 1,000 and 5,000 colon bills

Costa Rican Colon exchange rates

Sovereign Ratings for Costa Rica

Moody’s Rating
Ba1
S&P Rating
BB

Sovereign credit ratings play an important part in determining a country’s access to international capital markets, and the terms of that access. Sovereign ratings help to foster dramatic growth, stability, and efficiency of international and domestic markets.

What does it look like?

Political Structure

Costa Rica is a democratic republic with three branches of government. The executive branch consists of a president, first vice president, second vice president, and the cabinet. The president is both the chief of state and head of government and selects all the members of the cabinet. As for elections, the president and vice presidents are elected at the same time by popular vote to serve a four-year term. The legislative branch is a unicameral Legislative Assembly with 57 members that serve a four-year term and are also elected by direct popular vote. The judicial branch is composed of a Supreme Court. There are 22 justices that are elected by the Legislative Assembly to serve eight-year terms.

Prominent Figures

President: Abel Pacheco (since May 2002)
First Vice President: Lineth Saborio (since May 2002)
Second Vice President: Luis Fishman (May 2002)
President of Banco Central de Costa Rica: Dr. Francisco de Paula Gutierrez

Unique Characteristics

Costa Rica has managed to create one of the most attractive investment environments in Latin America. Attracting reputable enterprises and entering new global markets (namely with the Foreign Trade, COMEX), foreign direct investment in Costa Rica is currently $530 Million dollars per annum (approximately 5% of GNP). Costa Rica’s unique characteristics and its strategic location, in addition to its political stability and business incentives have all contributed to investment from high tech companies in the fields of power technologies, systems integration technologies and call centers. Since 1995, 32 foreign electronics firms have established plants in Costa Rica. These large firms include Intel, Microsoft, Lucent Technologies and Siemens.

Key Economic Factors

Economic Overview: Costa Rica’s economy is highly dependent on tourism, agriculture, and exports of electronics. Over the past two decades, the nation’s economy has experienced great improvements from a strong social safety net to a substantial reduction in poverty. Foreign investors remain attracted to the political stability of the nation, as well as its high education levels. Yet despite these several positive attributes, Costa Rica’s economy is fraught with a dark side as well; the government grapples with an extremely sizeable deficit and similarly large internal debt. Additionally, the reduction of inflation remains a large problem because of rises in the prices of imports, labor market rigidities, and fiscal deficits. Costa Rica must also reform its tax system and pattern of public expenditure.

  • Key Industries: Microprocessors, food processing, textiles and clothing, construction materials, fertilizer and plastic products.
  • Agricultural Products: Coffee, pineapples, bananas, sugar, corn, rice, beans, potatoes, beef and timber.
  • Export Commodities: Coffee, bananas, sugar, pineapples, textiles, electronic components and medical equipment.
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