Banks, businesses struggle to adjust to rising dollar

The 5 percent increase in the value of the U.S. dollar against the colon has government agencies hopping.

The economics ministry Thursday issued a bulletin warning tourism operators and stores that customers must be allowed the right to pay for services or items in colons even if the price is given in dollars. And the colon price must jive with the exchange rate maintained by the Banco Central de Costa Rica.

The Ministerio de Economía, Industria y Comercio cited two laws that require this. The law also said that the exchange rate must be displayed clearly and visibly.

Meanwhile, Banco Nacional is trying to drum up business by offering those who owe money the chance to change the currency on which the debt is based. Cited were mortgages, educational loans and consumer debts. The bank also noted that it would make loans in foreign currencies.

The Banco Central said the average overnight exchange rate was 517.06 and 531.24. The average is established by activity in the daily wholesale money exchange market. 

Those rates are up from 493 and 505 just a month ago.

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