More than 80 percent of Central Americans feel that prices of basic goods are constantly rising and 73 percent say that they have a limited budget for making purchases, according to a market study by Consumer Watch 2013 released Tuesday.
The survey carried out by the Kantar WorldPanel company last February and March among 3,000 homes in the six countries on the isthmus found that the issues of greatest concern to the public in the region are inflation and security.
According to the report, despite the fact that inflation in countries like Costa Rica has declined over the past three years and does not exceed the 5 percent forecast by the Central Bank - standing at just 3.64 percent so far this year - it is the issue that most concerns Panamanians (68 percent), Guatemalans (70 percent), Nicaraguans (66 percent) and Costa Ricans (56 percent).
The business director for Kantar WorldPanel in Central America, Emma Ortiz, told Efe that despite the fact that inflation is currently rising at a slower pace than in some recent years, the sample "represents the population in the countries where the great majority of people (are on the) lower socio-economic level and (they) certainly feel that increase in prices."
The other issue that most concerns Central Americans is the lack of security, especially in Honduras, where 80 percent of those surveyed said they feel that it is the country's main problem. In El Salvador, 66 percent of the residents are of the same opinion.
In Costa Rica and Guatemala, security is the second-major problem, according to those surveyed, but it does not figure among the top concerns for Panamanians or Nicaraguans.
Kantar WorldPanel is a London-based firm that has performed this survey periodically over the past nine years to analyze consumer behavior in Latin America. EFE