Croatia: traders accused of inflating prices

Since Croatia became the 20th country to adopt the euro on January 1, traders have been accused of using the situation to their advantage to boost their profits.

Some experts claim that stores round up prices denominated in euros or suddenly increase prices by up to 50%, instead of simply converting their prices using the designated conversion rate of 7.53 kuna for 1 euro.

While traders claim prices have not been affected by the euro changeover and blame inflation, the government has openly sided with the public and announced measures to tackle price rises , including the dispatch of inspectors to stores, as well as the obligation for large distribution chains to communicate the prices of each product every two weeks.

This Friday, the national inspectorate said that after checking a thousand stores over the previous two weeks, it had found unjustified price increases in around a quarter of establishments and imposed more than 240 fines.

The three main telecommunications operators also announced that they would raise their prices in February.

Local media reported that banks are also planning to raise interest rates for new mortgages.

Meanwhile, the latest data showed that the inflation rate was 13.1% in December, a slight slowdown from the all-time high of 13.5% seen the previous month.

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