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Follow the Euro

CAMBRIDGE: Now that the Euro has arrived, so what? It is useful to review what it can be expected to do. It is also interesting to ask what new risks, opportunities or ideas it offers emerging markets in Latin America or Eastern Europe.

First a negative: the claims of the great gains to be made from transparency, competition, and efficiency are overstated. Price discrepancies in Europe reflect two facts: like politics, all prices are local. Second, price discrepancies do have a lot to do with limited retail competition and a long tradition of anti-competitive practices. Of course, there will be gains in transactions costs from a single money. But that must wait until the money is actually there, a few years from now.