ECONOMY

Euro will highlight buying-power gap

The difference in working hours needed for the purchase of a certain basket of goods and services between Greek workers and their other European colleagues will become more more obvious with the introduction of the euro, the Institute of Consumer Protection (INKA) warns in its latest nationwide study on prices. According to the study, 50.3 percent of Greeks do not check the prices of products when they buy and only 39 percent choose on the basis of price. Ignorance of prices will intensify with the introduction of the single European currency on January 1, INKA says, due to the minimal interest shown by the public to date and the excessive optimism cultivated. For the purchase of 100 items of foodstuffs and beverages, Britons need to work 57 hours and 10 minutes, the French 57 hours and 55 minutes, the Germans 48 hours and 35 minutes, the Italians 69 hours and 12 minutes and the Greeks 95 hours and 46 minutes. Overall, differences in work time required for the purchase of the same goods amount to as much as 102 percent while differences in wages reach as high as 165 percent. INKA also found price differences of more than 55 percent between shops and 87 percent between towns in Greece for the same product. When applied to fuel prices, extensive differences are attributed largely to the fact that smuggling, tax evasion and the lack of safety regulations account for a significant part of the market. This strategy aims at spreading risks, increasing liquidity and constantly upgrading the quality of our portfolio. At the same time, it ensures a satisfactory performance, the bank said in a statement.