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Cablegate: Remittances to Costa Rica Up 18% in 2006

VZCZCXYZ0014
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHSJ #2803 3561242
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 221242Z DEC 06
FM AMEMBASSY SAN JOSE
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 6888
RUEHZA/WHA CENTRAL AMERICAN COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS SAN JOSE 002803

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EFINECONCS
SUBJECT: REMITTANCES TO COSTA RICA UP 18% IN 2006


1. Remittances to Costa Rica increased by 18% in the first six
months of 2006 over the amount received in the same period of 2005.
The total through the first six months of 2006 is $234 million with
the majority coming from the USA.
People in Costa Rica remitted some $108 million, representing a 7%
increase in the first half of 2006. The majority of these funds are
sent to Nicaragua. The net revenue from remittances is therefore
$126 million and represents an increase of 30% in 2006 according to
the Central Bank of Costa Rica.

2 The net revenue from remittances tripled from $77 million to $204
million over the five-year period ending in 2005. This is still a
fraction of what is received by the other Central American
countries. For example, Honduras calculates receipts of $2.4
billion for the first six months of 2006.

3. Close to 28,000 Costa Rican households (about 3% of all
households) receive remittances from relatives living outside Costa
Rica, according to a study conducted from 2004 to 2005 by the
University of Costa Rica. A study developed by Juan Carlos Vargas
of the Central American Center for Population found that on average,
remittances represent a fourth of a household's annual income. Some
2,300 vulnerable households reported that remittances were their
only income.

4. Another study conducted by the the Central Bank of Costa Rica
(BCCR) in 2005 determined that emigration from the country is from
primarily two zones, Los Santos/Perez Zeledon and the north central
suburban area comprising Naranjo, Grecia and Sarchi. The former
area, an erstwhile center for coffee production, is now the poorest
in the nation where one of every three families is unable to earn
enough to meet basic needs due to high unemployment in the region.
LANGDALE

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