Some prices of imports fail to follow dollar lower

Even though the U.S. dollar has depreciated against the colon by some 14 percent, the prices of imported goods have not followed suit, according to another price study by the Ministerio de Economía, Industría y Comercio.

The ministry said that some big ticket items did decrease during the study from October 2009 to last September. But others did not. The ministry figured a decrease in the value of the U.S. dollar of some 74 colons during the study period. The dollar has continued to depreciate and the rate to buy colons is now at 494.65, according to the Banco Central

However, nearly all international trade is denominated in dollars even if the source is not the United States. The ministry said that the price of imported washing machines and agricultural chemicals were found to be lower, but other items, such as imported vehicles and cooking stoves were priced the same despite changes in the dollar.

The ministry said that other factors might be involved, such as salaries, inventory and business strategy. Differences in the prices of refrigerators, stoves and washing machines varied by as much as 36 percent depending on the outlet, according to ministry figures.

But that was minor compared to the differences in the price of imported medicines. The famous cut-rate pharmacy La Bomba was low for all four items that ministry surveyors checked. A blood pressure medicine like Aprobel was 9,575 colons at La Bomba and 34,000 for the same amount at Farmacia la Paulina, the ministry said. That is a difference of 255 percent, it added. Other products like Exalon, Jonuvia and Lopid also showed vast ranges of prices.

Ministry officials said they would consider the results of the survey with an eye to correcting distortions in the marketplace.

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