Letter: Useless euro

Sir: Price transparency is widely touted as a principal benefit of the euro to consumers. But are consumers so sensitive to price differentials that they will travel or purchase across borders within Euroland to take advantage of newly revealed lower prices? Hamish McRae thinks so ("The slow burn of the euro", 5 January), and also predicts the same kind of homogeneity in retailing there that we already have "from Inverness to Plymouth".

But in this part of Sterlingland, a supermarket chain consistently maintains a 5-per-cent differential in its filling station prices between branches only 12 miles apart. A single currency does not automatically dispose of oligopolistic price-fixing if producers combine to "regionalise" the single market.


Braintree, Essex