24th Annual PNC Christmas Price Index Most Expensive Ever, Up 8.1 Percent in 2008

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Cost of 'The Twelve Days of Christmas' Song Gifts Reflect Consumer Pricing Trends; Interactive Christmas Price Index Web Site Provides Resource for Teachers and Students

2008 PNC Christmas Price Index

Because our analysts can only measure the actual costs of this seasonal treasure, not its sentimental value, True Loves may want to budget a little more carefully this year in order to purchase all the items in the song

The PNC Christmas Price Index increased by a lavish 8.1 percent over last year, the second biggest leap in the history of the whimsical economic analysis by PNC Wealth Management based on the prices of the gifts in the song, 'The Twelve Days of Christmas.'

According to the 24th annual survey, the cost of the PNC CPI is $21,080 in 2008, $1,573 more than last year. This year, commodities prices, concerns about increased energy and shipping costs and jobs were major factors in the cost.

The Seven Swans-a-Swimming carried the greatest weight in this year's index, with a whopping 33.3 percent increase. True Loves will spend $5,600 this year for Swans compared with $4,200 in 2007 - $1,400 of the $1,573 increase.

"Omitting the Seven Swans-a-Swimming may be a tempting way for a True Love to hold the line on costs, but one would be advised to proceed with caution," warned James Dunigan, managing executive of investments for PNC Wealth Management.

"Because our analysts can only measure the actual costs of this seasonal treasure, not its sentimental value, True Loves may want to budget a little more carefully this year in order to purchase all the items in the song," Dunigan said.

Web Site and Teacher Resources:
Teachers across the country have used the PNC Christmas Price Index to teach economic trends to students of all ages. The 2008 Christmas Price Index Web site includes updated educational features, such as an enhanced Flash presentation, a live chat with chief investment officer Jim Dunigan, interactive charts of the annual results and trends, games and much more.

PNC has teamed up again with The Stock Market Game TM (SMG), America's premier educational stock-market simulation, to provide a complete sample lesson plan on related material - available for the first time in both English and Spanish. Teachers and educators who visit the site will also find a Webinar explaining how to use the PNC Christmas Price Index in the classroom.

Other 2008 PNC Christmas Price Index Highlights:

  • As always, the 2008 Christmas Price Index was in large part driven by the birds, with large percentage increases seen by the Turtle Doves (37.5 percent) and the partridge in the pear tree (33 percent for each and as a whole).
  • True Loves will pay less for the Five Gold Rings this year, with prices dropping by 11.4 percent as retailers try to move luxury merchandise in light of concerns with the slowing economy, according to PNC. The calling birds, with no change in 2008, also reflect the resistance by retailers to increase prices on non-essential items during times of economic uncertainty.

-The eight Maids-a-Milking received a raise for the second straight year, due to another increase in the federal minimum wage to $6.55 per hour. The milkmaids can expect to see another increase in 2009. The cost of the other performers in the index - the Drummers Drumming, Pipers Piping and Lords-a-Leaping - jumped a modest 3 percent, essentially a cost-of-living increase and a reflection of the current labor market.

True Loves Spending More Than Ever:
As part of its annual tradition, PNC Wealth Management also tabulates the 'True Cost of Christmas,' which is the total cost of items gifted by a True Love who repeats all of the song's verses. This holiday season, very generous True Loves will pay more than ever before --$86,609--for all 364 items, up from $78,100 in 2007, a staggering 10.9 percent increase.

The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc. (http://www.pnc.com) is one of the nation's largest diversified financial services organizations providing retail and business banking; specialized services for corporations and government entities, including corporate banking, real estate finance and asset-based lending; wealth management; asset management and global fund services.

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Alan Aldinger

Meghan Cole
The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc.
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