Clever holiday way of calculating yearly changes in prices by PNC Wealth Management:
Thanks to the weak economy in 2009 the PNC Christmas Price Index increased by a modest 1.8 percent compared to last year in the whimsical economic analysis by PNC Wealth Management based on the prices of gifts in the holiday classic, "The Twelve Days of Christmas."(ht: Mankiw)
According to the 26th annual survey, the price tag for the PNC CPI is $21,465.56 in 2009, just $385.46 more than last year. It is the smallest increase since 2002, when the index fell 7.6 percent.
The PNC CPI exceeds the U.S. government’s Consumer Price Index, the widely used measure of inflation calculated by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which is down 1.3 percent this year.
Among the 12 gifts in the Index, three items fell measurably from last year while five increased in cost and four remained steady.
As part of its annual tradition, PNC Wealth Management also tabulates the “True Cost of Christmas,” which is the total cost of items gifted by a True Love who repeats all of the song’s verses. This holiday season, very generous True Loves will receive a bargain and pay $87,402.81 for all 364 gifts, a mere 0.9 percent increase compared to last year.
The sharp rise in gold prices proved to be the main contributor to the dramatic 42.9 percent jump to $499.95 for the Five Gold Rings. Typically when the value of the dollar decreases, as it has in the last year, investors buy more gold driving up prices.
The cost of the Seven Swans-a-Swimming, which generally provide the biggest swings from year to year in the PNC CPI, fell this year by 6.3 percent to $5,250 following last year’s eye-opening 33.3 percent rise. As the most volatile item in the Index, the swans are removed to determine the underlying inflation or core PNC CPI, which pushed the rate up 4.8 percent this year.