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Costa Rica Data Error Prompts Revision to GDP Forecast

June 18 (Bloomberg) -- Costa Rica’s government unexpectedly revised its economic growth data for the first four months of this year after it found that export figures were incorrectly reported, central bank president Rodrigo Bolanos said.

Expansion in the period was revised to 2.1 percent from 3.4 percent, Bolanos told reporters today in San Jose. Growth in April, the most recent month reported, was cut to 1.9 percent from 3.1 percent. Exports from free-trade zone businesses were incorrectly entered into the central bank’s system last week, which resulted in the inflated growth figures, he said.

“The problem was that the customs system introduced duplicate information about exports from free-trade zones,” Bolanos said. “Due to that, we overestimated the export figures for the year.”

The $41 billion Central American economy will probably grow less than the 4 percent originally forecast for this year, Bolanos said. Inflation is still expected to stay within the range of 5 percent, plus or minus one percentage point, for the year.

The yield on Costa Rica’s dollar bonds due in 2023 rose 8 basis points to 4.92 percent at 11:55 a.m. local time. The currency, the colon, gained 0.3 percent against the dollar to 498.61. The colon has rallied 1.9 percent versus the dollar this year, the biggest gain among 16 Latin American and Caribbean currencies tracked by Bloomberg.

Exporters from free trade zones in Costa Rica include Santa Clara, California-based Intel Corp. and Palo Alto, California-based Hewlett-Packard Co.

To contact the reporter on this story: Adam Williams in San Jose, Costa Rica at awilliams111@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Bill Faries at wfaries@bloomberg.net; Andre Soliani at asoliani@bloomberg.net

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