Puerto Rico Compass ©

Q2 2008: A Second Quarter Meltdown in Puerto Rico

Quarterly economic indices tell the story

Puerto Rico’s second quarter has been characterized by media news regarding bankruptcies, food and gasoline price spikes, foreclosures, car repossessions, unemployment, companies leaving Puerto Rico, and job losses. Construction continues to pull the economy downwards while a cautious banking sector continues to tighten credit. This credit crunch halts consumer expenditures and investment. Meantime, local politicians engage in Byzantine debates in order to win the next election rather than suggest and find the means to finance countercyclical economic policies. We have relied on relief from the federal government and the Federal Reserve. It is time for us to lend them a hand and leave this trough.

Puerto Rico Economic Pulse ©

June 2008: The Emergence of a New Luxury Good, Part I

The worldwide surge in food prices and in Puerto Rico

Consumers all over the world are feeling the heat of a surge in food prices. In addition to skyrocketing energy prices, credit crunch, economic slowdown, and other problems, consumers now have to deal with a sudden jump in the prices of many food products. Rice, bread, milk, vegetable oil, among others, are some of the products whose prices have literally soared. Food, which until recently was considered an easy affair for developed countries, has now joined the group of luxury goods.  According to the UN, higher food prices threaten more than 800 million persons already facing hunger. This issue examines some of the reasons that have triggered such a worldwide mess in food. Part II next month will address how this has affected Puerto Rico and options available to the island.