Purchases during the upcoming Christmas season may be more expensive for the Colombians pocket compared to last year, taking into account the effects generated by the dollar exchange rate and inflation upward.  This is expected by some analysts and traders who notice an increase in costs especially for imported products, such as toys, spirits and technology.
On the one hand, it is known that the dollar has had its greatest historical revaluation against the person this year. and increased its value up to 16%, bringing the exchange rate to items of $ 3,500.
At the same time, also characterized by the same phenomenon in the currency, and by other factors, the prices of the family basket have increased at a faster rate this year compared to 201
Which reflects inflation reports in the Danish. As of October, the variation in the consumer price index during the year was 3.22%; while the measurement for the same period 2018 did not exceed 2.59%. The segment that has grown the most this year has been food and drink with 6.56%.
"Food inflation is worrying," said Camilo Herrera, president of Raddar's consulting company. "The increase in food hits households directly and also gives the feeling that 'things are expensive', and that scares consumption," he says.
In that sense, Alejandro Reyes, chief economist at BBVA Research, estimates that "Christmas dinner or everything we eat during that season can be more expensive compared to last year, due to the impact of the exchange rate on the price of some imported foods and others that are related at international prices ".
Read also: "Prices for family basket products will continue to increase for the rest of the year."
Against the dollar, Jaime Alberto Cabal, chairman of the National Federation of Merchants, Fenalco, says the trend bullish in recent months "can be reflected in a December price increase for consumers", but also in a "reduction in trading margin" , because companies would adopt part of this increase.
In this latter case, Herrera accepts that merchants "eat a portion of this increase" so that it is not transferred at all to the consumer's price, as long as losing competitiveness "They have a margin, and they are very cautious about in one way or another, because if you're expensive they won't buy you, period, "he explains.
In addition, according to the analyst, the large stores usually foresee the "climbing" of the exchange rate by purchasing stocks in advance, or by agreeing to "exchange hedges", which are mechanisms of international trade to "freeze" dollar prices at a negotiation period.
Therefore, Herrera believes that the overall effect of the dollar's rise may be lower than expected.
By taking a tour of the center of Cali these days, we repeatedly guarantee to find trucks that load dozens of boxes of goods for the December period.
The stores with the largest retail outlet in the city are preparing to make about 20% of this year's sales this quarter, according to Fenalco data.
According to this unit, 44% of Christmas gifts are clothing and shoes, followed by toys (19%) and technology (8%).
In the first of these categories is the DK clothing store, in the Fashion Center Shopping Center. At the calculator, Guillermo Ibarra says he expects "a very important sales volume" for this season and warns that the "dollar phenomenon" in his case will not affect his prices, as these are national products. For this reason, he considers the situation as another reason for Caleños to buy Colombian textiles this season: "the national products are of excellent quality and very competitive".
In the second most gifted category, toy business, it would have a more pronounced impact, says Diana Velasco, of Niño Landia Imports, located in Carrera 8. "The dollar raised the cost of the toy business a little this year, as products are imported," he says , although he remains optimistic about sales.
When it comes to technology, Víctor Salazar, from a video game store in San Andresito, comments with concern: "Due to the dollar's rise, goods are expensive and many customers have complained. That is, in December 2018, the dollar was $ 2,950, and now we are talking about 3,400. " growth compared to 2018, which it has had in 2019. "This year, positive winds have blown, and we are optimistic about what remains for strategies like Black Friday."
Most Colombians (31%) spent $ 600,000 on gifts last year for Christmas, according to a survey conducted by Fenalco. 17% of those surveyed spent less than $ 200,000.
For Christmas presents, 59% of Colombians consulted by Fenalco said they had the "premium" at the end of the year, as they made no savings during the year for these expenses