Milk and coffee more costly

Some of the most popular foodstuffs became significantly more expensive last month.

Statistik Austria said yesterday (Weds) that dairy products became seven per cent more expensive from October 2010 to the same month of this year. Statisticians also consider eggs in this price group. The price of bread and meat rose by four per cent.

Non-alcoholic beverages were 7.7 per cent more expensive last month than in October 2010. Especially coffee price developments were responsible for this increase. Coffee beans cost 24 per cent more last month than in October 2010. Vegetables were the only main food group which became cheaper in annual comparison (minus three per cent). This decline comes after a price drop for vegetables of six per cent from September 2010 to September 2011.

Rising mineral oil product prices were once more the major reason for soaring average price rates for products and services on offer in Austria. Heating oil was 21.4 per cent more costly than in October 2010. The price of diesel fuel shot up by 20 per cent. Regular car petrol cost 15 per cent more last month than in October of last year. Car repairs were dearer too (plus four per cent).

Watchdogs fear an increase of electricity prices to come in the midst of increasing demand as temperatures drop. Wolfgang Anzengruber, who heads Austria’s leading electricity provider Verbund AG, said last month he would not make a decision on possible price hikes public before the first quarter of next year. Anzengruber – whose firm has around 250,000 clients in Austria – said Verbund would not raise its charges in the remainder of 2011.

Anzengruber promised a price freeze only days after Upper Austrian gas provider OÖ Ferngas said it decided to increase its prices by five per cent. The rise became effective as of 1 October. Viennese energy sector group Wien Energie, Lower Austrian’s EVN and Eisenstadt-based gas firm BEGAS recently upped their consumer prices as well.

The latest inflation report includes good news for technology fans. The price of laptops dropped by nearly 17 per cent from October 2010 to last month as home entertainment stores are tipped to present more special offers in the coming weeks considering Christmas. Phone contracts were cheaper last month than in the same period of the previous year as well.

The price for package holidays offered by Austrian travel agencies climbed by more than 13 per cent at the same time – a development linked by experts to higher kerosene prices and a new tax on flight tickets. The Austrian government of Chancellor Werner Faymann’s Social Democrats (SPÖ) and the conservative People’s Party (ÖVP) agreed to set up the levy in October 2010. It came into effect last April and heaves between eight and 40 Euros of extra charges on airlines per ticket depending on flight destinations. A similar taxation measure was introduced in Germany.

Statistik Austria registered an overall increase of prices of 3.4 per cent for last month after prices rose by 3.6 per cent from September 2010 to September 2011. Aspects considered by the agency slightly differ to facts checked by Eurostat, the European Commission’s (EC) analysis group. Eurostat recorded a 3.8 per cent price hike for goods and services on offer in the small country which became a member of the European Union (EU) in 1995. Most other EU states had lower rates last month. Sweden did best in this concern as prices edged up by only 1.1 per cent. The United Kingdom found itself on the other side of the scale (plus 5.5 per cent).

Eurostat said the EU-27 had an average inflation rate of 3.4 per cent last month. The Eurozone – the 17 EU countries which use the Euro – recorded an increase of prices of just three per cent. Residents of Estonia were challenged the most at 4.7 per cent. The country became a member of the Eurozone only in January.

Many global trading experts expect the price for raw oil to inch back in the next six months. Such a development may lead to a slight price decline of petrol in Austria where nine in 10 drivers admitted in a poll they could not imagine living life without a car. The inflation may decline as well due to the weakening of the European economy.