Consumer price levels in 2008
Publication date: 17 July 2009
Consumer price levels in 2008
Price levels varied by one to three across the EU27 Member States
In 2008, price levels for consumer goods and services1 differed widely across Member States. Denmark (141% of the EU27 average) had the highest price level, followed by Ireland (127%) and Finland (125%). Price levels of 10% to 20% above the EU27 average were found in Luxembourg (116% of the EU27 average), Sweden (114%), Belgium and France (both 111%), while Italy and Austria (both 105%), Germany (104%) and the Netherlands (103%) were just above the average. The United Kingdom (99% of the EU27 average), Spain (96%) and Greece (94%) were just below the average, while Cyprus (90%), Portugal (87%) and Slovenia (83%) were between 10% and 20% below. Price levels between 20% and 30% below the average were observed in Malta (78%), Estonia (77%), Latvia (75%), the Czech Republic (72%), Hungary and Slovakia (both 70%). The lowest price levels were found in Bulgaria (51%), Romania (62%), Lithuania (67%) and Poland (69%).
These data come from a report2 published by Eurostat, the Statistical Office of the European Communities.
Highest price level in Denmark and lowest in Bulgaria
Price levels for food and non-alcoholic beverages3 in 2008 ranged from 67% of the EU27 average in Bulgaria to 147% of the average in Denmark. Among Member States, differences in price levels were smaller for this product group than for total goods and services. For alcoholic beverages and tobacco4, prices were lowest in Romania (61% of the average) and highest in Ireland (184%). This large price variation is mainly due to differences in taxation of these products among Member States.
Clothing5 is one of the groups of products showing the smallest price variation among Member States. The United Kingdom (83% of the average) was cheapest and Finland (123% of the average) was most expensive for clothing.
Consumer electronics6 is another group of products where prices differed less among Member States. The lowest prices for these products were found in the United Kingdom (86% of the average) and the highest in Malta (126%). Excluding Denmark, price differences among Member States were also limited for personal transport equipment7. Price levels varied from 84% of the EU27 average in Romania to 174% of the average in Denmark and 125% in Ireland.
For restaurants and hotels8, price variations were more significant, with price levels ranging from 40% of the average in Bulgaria to 151% of the average in Denmark.
1. The overall price levels included in this News Release relate to the concept of household final consumption expenditure (HFCE), which consists of all expenditure incurred by households on goods and services for consumption, including also rents for housing. HFCE does not include expenditure on goods or services that are consumed by households but incurred by government or non-profit institutions, for instance, government education services or healthcare. Furthermore, the HFCE does not include purchase of housing. The subcategories shown in the News Release comprise only a part of total HFCE.
2. Eurostat, Statistics in Focus, 50/2009, "Wide spread in consumer prices across Europe in 2008", available free of charge in pdf format on the Eurostat web site.
3. Includes bread and cereals, meat, fish, milk, cheese, eggs, oils and fats, fruits, vegetables, potatoes, other food, non-alcoholic beverages.
4. Includes spirits, wine, beer and tobacco.
5. Includes clothing materials, men's, women's, children’s and infant’s clothing, other articles of clothing and clothing accessories. Excludes cleaning, repair and hire of clothing.
6. Includes e.g. televisions, DVD players, receivers, audio systems, MP3 players, cameras, camcorders, desktop and laptop computers, monitors, printers, scanners, software, music CDs, movie DVDs, empty CDs and DVDs. Excludes repair of such equipment.
7. Includes motor cars, motor cycles and bicycles and excludes maintenance and repair of personal transport equipment, spare parts and fuel.
8. Includes e.g. restaurants, cafés, pubs, bars, canteens, hotels, youth hostels.