Austrians groan under high prices

Complaints by consumer protection groups that politicians should do more about “reckless” speculations triggering soaring foodstuff prices are unlikely to recede considering new inflation figures.

Statistik Austria announced today (Thurs) Austrians had to fork out 3.3 per cent more on various products and services of daily life last month than in June 2010. It was the third time in a row that an inflation rate of 3.3 per cent was recorded in the country.

The agency pointed out that none of the most relevant groups such as housing costs and foodstuff prices became cheaper last month. Coffee was 23 per cent more expensive in June 2011 than in June 2010 while consumers had to fork out 10 per cent more on fruit. The prices for heating oil (plus 16 per cent), gas (plus 10 per cent) and package holidays (plus 8.6 per cent) shot up as well. The price for car fuel inched back by 1.3 per cent in Austria. This is the first decline in several months.

Austria’s inflation ranks the country above both the Eurozone (2.7 per cent) and the European Union (EU) average (3.1 per cent). While domestic statisticians registered a 3.3 per cent rate, European experts revealed a 3.7 per cent price jump as they consider some aspects differently.

Romanians were hit by the highest overall price increase last month at eight per cent among the EU-27. Estonia was second (4.9 per cent). The least price hikes occurred in Slovenia (1.6 per cent) and Sweden (1.5 per cent). Ireland was the only EU member which refused to provide data.

Various independent researchers have criticised statisticians over their methods, claiming that products of daily life received too little attention when it came to determine the inflation rate. They have argued official figures were misleading as the impact of foodstuff price developments on people’s lives mattered more than increasing prices for luxury cars.