Beer is basic, economics ministry study determines

In a pragmatic recognition of Costa Rican life, the economics ministry has listed beer in cans as one of the 53 products that make up the consumer basket on which the price index will be figured.

The Instituto Nacional de Estadistica y Censos selected 266 possible items, and the Ministerio de Economía, Industria y Comercio picked the 53, which also includes some non-food products and personal hygiene items. The price index is weighted toward the products that a low-income family would buy. The economics ministry will use the index to monitor prices in the marketplace and seek out what it calls distortions.

The ministry said that the list is not supposed to be used for tax purposes or to motivate shoppers to buy items on the list.

However, a recent proposal for a value-added tax exempted certain products in the basic consumer basket, called canasta basica in Spanish.

The list appeared in the Sept. 9 La Gaceta official newspaper.

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