ECONOMIC DATA ABROAD

ECONOMIC DATA ABROAD

TAIWAN'S EXPORTS FELL

BY 10.2 PERCENT DURING MAYTaiwan's exports declined 10.2 percent in May from a year earlier to $5.64 billion, the first double-digit decline since September 1988, the Asian Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday.

Taiwan trade officials attributed the fall in exports partly to rising labor costs, which made locally manufactured products less attractive overseas.

"The sagging exports cast a shadow over Taiwan's economy," the newspaper quoted a government official as saying.

The government's Directorate General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics said May's exports represented a 1.1 percent drop from April. Exports for the period from January to May totaled $26.59 billion, down 1 percent from the same period last year, the newspaper said.

UNEMPLOYMENT RATE

IN W. GERMANY DROPS

FRANKFURT, West Germany - The unemployment rate in West Germany fell to 7.0 percent in May from 7.3 percent in April and 7.6 percent in May 1989, the Federal Labor Office in Nuremberg said Wednesday.

The number of unemployed declined to 1.823 million in May from 1.915 million in April. Some 1.947 million persons were out of work in May 1989, it said.

According to seasonally adjusted figures, the number of unemployed in May totaled 1.91 million, flat from April, it added.

VENEZUELA BOP DEFICIT

NARROWED LAST YEAR

CARACAS, Venezuela - A tough adjustment program and a successful export drive helped bring Venezuela's external accounts into order during 1989, lowering the balance of payments deficit by $3.664 billion, the central bank said in a report released Wednesday.

The bank's report for fourth-quarter 1989 said Venezuela's balance of payments deficit fell from $4.672 billion in 1988 to $1.008 billion last year, a drop of 78 percent.

According to the central bank, the increase was due in part to an improved trade balance, which went from a deficit of $1.347 billion in 1988 to a surplus of $5.790 billion last year.

BASIC FOOD PRICES

RISE 20 PERCENT IN COSTA RICA

SAN JOSE, Costa Rica - The Costa Rican government Tuesday announced an

average 20 percent increase in the price of basic grains as part of an austerity program unveiled last week by President Rafael Angel Calderon.

Economy Minister Gonzalo Fajardo said the National Production Council would raise the price of beans by 27.5 percent, corn by 21.3 percent and flour

from 16.9 percent to 20 percent depending on type.

The basic grains price hike follows an average 30 percent increase in public services and utilities, including an announced 31 percent increase in the price of oil this year.

Mr. Calderon, who took office May 8, told the nation in a televised address last week that the austerity measures were necessary to bring down the government's budget deficit. The deficit is estimated at around $350 million, or roughly 6 percent of the country's gross national product.