• PROCOMER Report highlights 11% growth of goods exports from January to March 2021
San Jose, April 21, 2021. Exports of goods from Costa Rica have consolidated their recovery, accumulating $3.340 million in the first quarter of this year. This amounts to a growth of 11% when compared to the same period in 2020 and represents $322 million more than last year ($3.018 million in total exports).
The numbers released today by the Costa Rican Foreign Trade Promoter (PROCOMER) point to double-digit growth in the precision and medical equipment (+20%), food (+14%), electrical and electronic devices (+19%), metalworking (+29%) and plastic products (+14%) sectors. In addition, the rubber industry, which was in decline, grew exports by 4% at the end of the first quarter.
Two sectors have yet to achieve the desired recovery, however: exports of agricultural products reported a 3% decline at the end of the first quarter of 2021, while the livestock and fisheries sector decreased by 5%. It is worth noting that both sectors show slower declines than those reported in the first bimonthly report, when both showed a decrease of 9%.
The products that showed the greatest growth during the first quarter of the year were the following: medical devices with +$194 million as compared to the same period in 2020; electrical cables with +$20 million; syrups and concentrates for soft drinks with +$17 million; fruit juices and concentrates with +$11 million; glass packaging with +$10 million; frozen fruit with +$9 million; iron or steel bars with +$8 million; palm oil with +$7 million; and electrical supplies with +$7 million.
“Thanks to an extensive export offer of almost 4,200 products, significant market diversification (150+ in 2020) and the resilience of the exports sector, today we are seeing a recovery. We are still facing important challenges in the agricultural, livestock and fisheries and services sectors; however, we will work on bringing these sectors to the desired level of recovery in 2021,” said Andrés Valenciano Yamuni, Minister of Foreign Trade.
Pedro Beirute Prada, General Manager of PROCOMER, emphasized that this growth has been a slow process and there is still work to be done. “Despite a difficult 2020 due to the crisis brought on by the pandemic, starting last September, we began to see positive numbers and managed to close the year with a 2% growth of goods exports. We are optimistic about the beginning of this year because that growth continues. We are aware, however, that we still need to bring recovery to the sectors that remain affected,” said Beirute.
In terms of export markets, all destination regions have grown. North America—Costa Rica’s main export destination with a 46% share—grew by 11% thanks to an increase in shipments of medical devices, sugar and frozen fruit. Europe—the second largest market with a 22% share—grew by 6% due to medical devices, sugar and fruit juices and concentrates.
Central America—holding a 20% share of goods exports—grew by 10% thanks to syrups for soft drinks, electrical cables and medication. Meanwhile, Asia registered a growth of 12% due to medical devices, raw wood and beef; the Caribbean grew by 24% due to glass packaging and electrical cables; and, finally, South America grew by 25% due to syrups for soft drinks and beverage preparations.
In terms of the export statistics for 2020, Beirute added that it is important to note that in analyzing the goods and services data from 2010 to 2020, a significant change can be seen in terms of our trade balance, which shifted from a negative or deficit balance to a positive balance. This means that ten years ago, Costa Rica’s imports exceeded exports, while today the country exports more than it imports.
Services exports in 2020
The services sector has been hit the hardest by the pandemic and resulting crisis. At the close of 2020, this sector recorded a 29% decline, i.e., it exported $2.759 million less than in 2019, with total exports of only $6.832 million. When excluding the travel category (tourism), the decline is only 2%.
The information technology and telecommunications subsector grew by 5% as compared to 2019. However, others experienced a decline, such as travel (-40%), transportation (-25%), processing services (-3%), maintenance and repair (-5%) and financial services (-3%).
At the end of 2020, other business services represented 51% of total services exports, while travel accounted for 20%; information technology and telecommunications 20%; processing services 4%; and maintenance and repair 2%.
Based on thisNews, at which level will you recommend it to other exporter?
Subscribe to our list to receive in your email relevant information like this.