Will the Inflation Grinch Steal Christmas?

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Buying all the items in the classic holiday song “The 12 Days of Christmas” will set consumers back more than ever this year. The development is hardly surprising given the current financial environment, but it serves as a quirky reminder that loose monetary policies by central banks have consequences.

According to PNC Wealth Management, buying all 364 gift items mentioned in the song will cost a record breaking $107,300.24, representing a 6.1 percent jump from last year’s $101,119.84 total. The firm’s Christmas Price Index, which shows the current cost for one set of each of the gifts given in the song, increased 4.8 percent. In comparison, the index gained 3.5 percent and 9.2 percent in 2011 and 2010, respectively.

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“The rise in the PNC CPI index is larger than expected considering the modest economic growth we’ve had over the past 12 months,” said Jim Dunigan, managing executive of investments for PNC Wealth Management, in a press release. However, he tried to remain jolly by adding, “Despite some weak spots in the economy, consumer balance sheets are improving along with consumer confidence, which means this may still be a spirited holiday season.”

The biggest mover in the Christmas Price Index was the “Six Geese-a-Laying.” The cost of the gift surged 29.6 percent to $210, compared to $162 last year. The cost was obtained by the National Aviary in Pittsburgh. The second largest gainer was “Five Gold Rings,” followed by a “Pear Tree,” with price increases of 16.3 percent and 11.8 percent, respectively.

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