Business Briefs
Reported by Star-Bulletin staff & wire

Saturday, April 21, 2001

Honolulu cashes in on expensive side

A six-pack of beer, on average, costs $5.25 in Honolulu, compared with $10.42 in Tokyo and $4.72 in Los Angeles.

On the other hand, cigarettes cost an average of $3.79 a pack here, while in Tokyo, they're only $2.25. In London, the price averages $5.61 a pack.

In a recent survey of the cost of goods in several international cities, Honolulu proved to be on the expensive side. The only exception was in candy bars, which cost an average of 58 cents here, compared with 71 cents in Nairobi and 79 cents in Hong Kong.

For the most part, Honolulu's prices for staples such as milk, bread and apples were about half the prices in Tokyo.

But when it comes to the average fast food meal, Honolulu's price of $5.39 closely trails Tokyo's $5.65 a meal.

The survey, done by Rochester, Wis.-based Runzheimer International, reveals on a broader level that a strong U.S. dollar has done little to pare outrageous prices in Japan.

Runzheimer said it prepared the survey to offer expatriate employees a way to plan their budgets.

Continental Micronesia, flight attendants OK pact

HOUSTON >> Continental Micronesia, the Asia-Pacific subsidiary of Houston-based Continental Airlines, and the union representing its 350 flight attendants said yesterday they have reached a new collective bargaining agreement.

If ratified, the proposed contract will run until June 2005 and improve wages, benefits and work rules, Continental Micronesia and the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers said.

Visa, MasterCard sued for hiding overseas fees

NEW YORK >> MasterCard International Inc., Visa U.S.A. Inc., and banks that control the credit-card networks are being sued for allegedly imposing hidden fees on cardholders who make purchases overseas.

The suit, filed by cardholders yesterday in U.S. District Court in New York, contends that Visa and MasterCard impose a 1 percent surcharge on each overseas transaction made with credit and charge cards. Cardholders claim the fees are hidden.

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