The exchange rate gap, seen from the screen of an iPhone 12

The sharing gap can be clearly seen through the iPhone 12, the latest version of the cell phone released by Apple last Tuesday. Without a precise date, the device will arrive in the country from authorized dealers and the standard 128-gig model would cost $179,000 today, including taxes. Said like this, depending on the reference exchange rate (official or blue) it would have one of the cheapest or most expensive prices in the world, by far.

The price of the iPhone 12 in Argentina is an estimate. It is based on the reference price that Apple established for one of the 9 variants of the line that premiered this Tuesday (Mini, standard and Pro in their different storage capacities), the price of the dollar, the tax burden, import duties and the profitability of companies.

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The previously published price was prepared at the request of Clarín de Diego Kravetz, owner of the Mc Station chain, Apple’s authorized distributor in the country, which has 3 stores. The figure includes the list price of the equipment at the official value, the commercial profit, plus the taxes that apply to all imported phones: 16% Customs, 21% VAT, 10% freight and insurance, 7.52% internal taxes, 5% of gross income and 6% of profits. “Such a high tax burden is what makes the product more expensive,” Kravetz summed up.

For perspective, the iPhone 12 could cost $1,005 to convert to the blue dollar ($178 as of yesterday’s close), just above the US selling price ($943), according to a report from consulting firm Statista. But if you take the official exchange rate ($82.50), the same model goes up to US$2,169, doubling the prices of the rest of the countries surveyed: India (US$1,158), Spain and France (US$1,126), Mexico (US$1,123), Russia (US$1,101), England (US$1,096), and China (US$1,010).

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The cost of the iPhone is another way of looking at the gap between the official and the parallel exchange rate, which this Friday hovered on the verge of 130%, the highest level in the last 30 years. Another aspect is the heavy tax burden faced by the importation of finished cell phones, such as the iPhone, to protect electronics factories based in Tierra del Fuego.

Precisely for this reason, there are brands that do not have a presence in the country, such as the Chinese Huawei, Xiaomi and Oppo. Apple had offices in Argentina until 2001, when it closed its doors due to the crisis. However, fans of the brand were able to buy its products in the country through authorized resellers or abroad. This year, the iPhone 12 will arrive through 3 distributors (Mc Station, One Click and iPoint) and also Personal. From the sector they estimate that its local launch would be at the end of December or in January 2021, as soon as the authorities carry out the rigorous tests and approve its entry.

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Converting the final price of the iPhone to dollars makes it possible to generate a new index, which refers to the “Big Mac Index”, the classic McDonald’s menu, points out consultant Enrique Carrier. “It was created in 1986 by The Economist magazine, which became a standard to approximate the relationship between the value of currencies based on a globalized product, and which allows evaluating the competitiveness of a country,” he said.

The comparison of iPhone prices in different countries “allows the creation of another index to compare costs of taxes, tariffs and para-tariffs in different markets”, interpreted the specialist.

The reason is that it is a product with a single initial price set by the company led by Tim Cook “but that reaches different world markets with different final prices, and that gap (Apple’s and the final value), serves to determine the local cost of operating in each country.” “And Argentina is not doing very well,” Carrier concludes.

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