Inflation increases costs for 12 days of Christmas

Tim Macpherson | Image source | Getty Images

Inflation increases the costs of gifts for “true love” this Christmas season.

The Christmas price index is up 5.7% in 2021 from its pre-pandemic level in 2019, the biggest increase in eight years, according to an annual calculation released by PNC, a financial services company.

The index measures the cost of all the items in a complete verse of the Christmas song “12 Days of Christmas”. The price – of two turtledoves, five gold rings, and 10 bagpipe pipes, for example – has risen to $ 41,206 this year, from $ 38,994 in 2019.

The index is not intended to indicate the actual cost to a household for holiday gifts.

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On the one hand, it leans heavily towards luxury and specialty items that most people won’t buy. The average American consumer expects to pay $ 648 this holiday season on gifts for family, friends and co-workers, according to to the National Retail Trade Federation.

But the cheerful Christmas price index is indicative of some general trends in the US economy.

“Inflation this year has certainly been surprisingly on the rise,” said Amanda Agati, chief investment officer in PNC’s asset management group. “This very specialized gift basket largely reflects what we see in the economy at large.”

U.S. inflation jumped 6.2% in October from a year earlier, the biggest increase in over 30 years, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Price Index. The increase means that American households generally pay more for goods.

The overall figure is an average which masks wide variations. For example, costs are on the rise for gasoline (50%) and used cars and trucks (26%), but the increases are more modest for fresh vegetables (1.7%) and produce. housekeeping (1.1%) during the 12 month period.

The Federal Reserve is targeting annual inflation of around 2%. It is not known to what extent the recent peak will be more lasting or a temporary disruption related to the pandemic. Consumer price increases this year offset the lukewarm inflation of recent years to some extent, Agati said.

The increase in the Christmas price index in 2021 is the largest since 2013, when annual costs rose 6.6%, according to PNC.

Exotic animals, artists and gold rings have seen the biggest price increases this year, Agati said.

The prices of six laying geese, two turtledoves and three French hens increased by 57.1%, 50% and 40.5% respectively in 2021 compared to pre-pandemic levels, for example, according to PNC analysis. .

The cost for 10 lords-a-leaping increased by 12.6%, and by 7.1% each for the 11 pipers and 12 drummers.

(PNC’s analysis uses costs provided by various companies. The Philadelphia Ballet provided the cost of Lords Who Leap, for example, while national bird suppliers, hatcheries, and waterfowl farms offered those for some. exotic animals. For consistency, the price sources remain the same each year.)

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