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Cost of Buying the 78 Gifts in "The Twelve Days of Christmas" Soars 9.2%

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Right now, our central bankers think inflation levels remain uncomfortably close to dreaded deflation with core inflation at a record low 0.6%. But these PhD-carrying policymakers are eyeballing the wrong inflation gauge!

Specifically, the cost of buying the 78 gifts given in the song “The Twelve Days of Christmas” has rocketed up 9.2% this year, according to the annual survey from PNC Wealth Management.

The so-called PNC Christmas Price Index is like the Consumer Price Index but, instead of measuring changes in the prices of goods and services like housing, food, clothing and transportation, this index tabulates the cost of everything from a partridge to a pear tree.

According to the 27th annual survey, the price tag for the PNC CPI is $23,439 in 2010, $1,974 more than last year. This is the second highest jump ever and largest percentage increase since 2003 when the index rose 16%.

This year’s jump, said James Dunigan, managing executive of investments for PNC Wealth Management, can be in part attributed to rising gold prices - represented by the Five Gold Rings - which shot up 30%.

The cost of four items - Pear Tree, Four Calling Birds, Six Geese a–Laying and the Eight Maids-a-Milking – remained the same price from last year.

After modest increases last year, says PNC, prices for the birds flew higher in this year's index, in part due to the costs of feed as well as the availability and demand for certain feathered friends that amplified several prices. The Two Turtle Doves increased 78.6% to $100 and the Three French hens surged 233% to $150.

The cost of the eight Maids-a-Milking is represented with the minimum wage. They received no increase in pay in 2010 as the Federal minimum wage did not rise for the first time in three years. With the minimum wage flat at $7.25 per hour, hiring the maids this year cost $58.

Check out this chart to see how prices have changed since PNC first created the index.
POSITION:  No positions in stocks mentioned.