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Business

It's Official: Euro Makes Things Expensive

Bars, hotels and the barber are just a few of the things that got more expensive when Germany switched from the Deutsch Mark to the euro, the country's federal bank said Monday.

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Not that great a deal

The government’s statistics wing denies it, but shoppers across Germany are sure of it:

The euro has made things a lot more expensive.

On Monday, the German Federal Bank gave the complaint some credence. In their monthly report, the bank noted that now that the Deutsch Mark had vanished from circulation – the last day to use it was Feb. 28 – there are some indications that some storeowners have used the confusion over the new money to jack up prices.

Prices across the board went up 2.5 percent from December 2001 to January 2002. The percentage increase in the past six years has never been higher than 0.5 percent.

"The high amount of the price increase in goods and services shown in the official statistics affirm the impression of many consumers," according to the monthly report.

Bars and hotels are more expensive

Consumers handed over more euros than d-marks in restaurants, hotels, bars and at the barber, in particular, according to the report. Small, specialized services, like re-soling shoes, also cost 2.6 percent more in January than in December. The dry cleaner also benefited from the currency switch.

The report was careful to point out that price increases in fruit, vegetables and other produce have more to do with the bad weather in southern Europe than the euro changeover.

But don’t tell that to the Germans.

A poll by the Sunday edition of the daily Frankfurt Allgemeine newspaper revealed that 90 percent believe that storekeepers have used the euro to raise prices. As a result, the number of people unsatisfied with the euro climbed from 31 percent at the beginning of January to 37 percent in March.

Yet another number crunching office weighed in with some good news this week. No matter how high Germans think the price of goods has gone, inflation across the euro-Zone sank from January to February, according to the Luxembourg-based Eurostat.

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