My True Love Still a Bargain; PNC Index Up 0.6%

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – The prices of nine of the 12 gifts My True Love Gave to Me remain unchanged since the 12 Days of Christmas a year ago, the PNC Economics Department reported today, and the increase of only 0.6% overall suggests inflation remains in check.

The 32nd annual Christmas Price Index compiled by the economists of PNC Financial Services Group shows a price tag of $34,130.99 for the items delivered the 12th day of Christmas, only $198 higher than Christmas 2014, says Karen Segesto Hauser, vice president and senior adviser here in the wealth management department of PNC Bank.

Only the partridge in a pear tree, two turtledoves and 10 lords-a-leaping cost more than last December, 3.5%, 11.5% and 3% respectively.

The price of a partridge rose to $214.99 from $207.68, the turtledoves to $290 from $260, and the lords to $$5,508.70 from $5,368.24.

True cost of the 364 items of song this year is $155,407.18, 0.6% higher than the $154,508.08 a year ago.

This is below the rate of inflation for the 12 months ended in October, 0.2%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which released its latest report Nov. 17. A poll of economists The Wall Street Journal conducted this month estimates that core prices, which exclude food and energy, will run 1.3% this year.

The PNC Christmas Price core index, which excludes the swans, the most volatile item on the list – unchanged at $13,125 – is $21,005.99, up 1% from $20,808.22 in 2014.

The essentially static prices reflect “a steep decline in energy prices, lower inflation and slow-but-steady economic growth,” Segesto Hauser said.

What surprised her most, she said, is that the five gold rings remained unchanged at $750. “Commodity prices are keeping consumer costs down,” she explained.

In compiling the whimsical index, the PNC economists can find partridges, turtle doves, French hens, calling birds, gold rings geese and swans and their prices. Even so, they replace them with comparable goods such as gourmet foods for the partridges.

The intent is to reflect the cost of food, energy, housing and labor in the Consumer Price Index computed by the U.S. Department of Labor, Segesto Hauser says.

So the price of the turtledoves reflects the increase in grain prices, Segesto Hauser notes.

The economists replace maids-a-milking with unskilled laborers and the ladies dancing, lords-a-leaping, pipers piping and drummers drumming with entertainers.

The first PNC Christmas Price Index in 1984 was $18,845.97 for the 12 items in song, or $100,125.18 for all 364 items when repeated, so the cost of the list has risen roughly 81% since its inception.

The lowest index occurred in 1995 when the 12 items dropped to an even $15,600, Segesto Hauser relates.

Visit PNCChristmasPriceIndex.com for the complete comparison of this year’s prices compared to 2014.

In its observance of the holidays, PNC Bank will show off a gingerbread branch in Philadelphia, Segesto Hauser said. Inside the 20-by-17-foot display, the bank will serve cocoa and gingerbread cookies.

Closer to home, PNC has engaged in a drive in which its employees have contributed toward the purchase of brand-new hats and mittens. The hats and mittens will be distributed the week of Dec. 7 at early education centers in its Youngstown market, Segesto Hauser said.

Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.