PNC Christmas Price Index Increases 2.7%

PITTSBURGH, Pa. – Following a year of inflation, PNC Bank’s annual Christmas Price Index increased by 2.7%. But that was less than the U.S. Consumer Price Index and far below the hefty 10.5% increase last year.

For the 40th year, PNC has calculated the cost of Christmas based on the items from the holiday song “The 12 Days of Christmas.”

The light-hearted PNC CPI tradition calculates the total cost a “True Love” would pay for the 12 gifts in the song – $46,729.86. Buying online would cost 4.8% more for a total price tag of $52,024.03.

Turtle doves, a rare commodity, increased by 25%.

Five of the 12 gifts had no increase from last year – four calling birds, five gold rings, seven swans-a-swimming, eight maids-a-milking and nine ladies dancing.

While the cost of the partridge was unchanged, the pear tree jumped by 15%, as housing costs continue to move higher despite the highest mortgage rates since 2000.

The 3.3% increase in the cost of wages affected the 10 lords-a-leaping, 11 pipers piping and 12 drummers drumming.

“The most aggressive Federal Reserve interest rate hiking cycle in history and slowing of some of the largest global economies, along with other macroeconomic crosscurrents, have helped lower the PNC CPI compared to recent years,” said Amanda Agati, chief investment officer for PNC’s Asset Management Group. “Certain industries are experiencing stickier inflation than others, some of which is well beyond the Fed’s control. The good news is that wage growth is now higher than the PNC CPI, which should help True Loves deck the halls this year, considering we are still in a high-inflation environment.”

Since the PNC CPI launched in 1984, the Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Price Index has increased 191%, while the PNC CPI has increased 133%, Agati said.

Some other takeaways include the 3.7% increase of the core Index of the PNC CPI. The core index excludes the seven swans-a-swimming, a typically volatile price, which remains flat again this year and may be a good sign for investors.

Throughout the 40 years, the PNC CPI has evolved with the shift in the U.S. GDP, from a 70% goods-based economy in 1984 to a 63% service-based economy in 2023.

Purchasing all the gifts as many times as repeated in the song, all 364 gifts topped $200,000 for the first time at $201,972.66.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.