German living expenses rank high

Germany's living costs are particularly high in a global comparison but in a European context they are just above average, a recent study finds. [Thorben Wenger/]

By global standards, the cost of living in Germany is particularly high. But, in Europe, it is just above average, says a recent study. [Thorben Wenger/]

In Germany, day-to-day goods are one-third more expensive than in the rest of the world. But German price levels rank near average in a European comparison, while living in Switzerland and Norway comes with the highest price-tag, a recent study says. EURACTIV Germany reports.

Life in Germany is comparatively expensive, according to a recent study. In 2011, the price level in the Federal Republic was around 36% over the global average, the Federal Statistical Office (Destatis) reported on Wednesday (7 May).

Compared to German price levels, living costs were much lower in Asia. In South Korea, for example, people paid 28% less three years ago, while China and Russia were around half. In India, expenses were over 70% lower than in Germany.

Destatis based its findings on a study conducted by the World Bank’s International Comparison Program (ICP) which focused on purchasing power parities and comparative price levels.

The results show that none of the African or South American countries participating in the 2011 comparison could keep up with prices in Germany. Prices in Brazil, which hosted the last FIFA WorldCup, were around 12.8% below German levels.

Consumers in the United States also paid close to 12% less in 2011 than those in Germany.

The ICP study found the lowest price levels in Egypt, Pakistan and Myanmar.

In Canada, however, prices were around 14.1% higher than those in Germany. But in Australia and Japan, living expenses were even higher: There, consumers spent around 38.4% and 27.9% more respectively on a so-called “representative cart of goods”.

The highest expenses overall were in Switzerland and Norway. But Sweden, Finland and Luxembourg were also among those with higher living costs than Germany. In general, Germany ranked just over the average in the European comparison for 2011.

(Source: ICP)

Fears regarding a repetition of the 2007-08 food price crisis were sparked in 2011 with the publication of the United Nations' food price index, showing a 32% rise in wholesale prices of agricultural commodities in the second half of 2010.

The Group of 20 leading economies discussed ways to tackle soaring food prices through global cooperation at a Paris meeting that year.

But EU officials noted that the fears were not completely justified and insisted that before trying to find a solution, world leaders needed to define the problem in order to get off on the right track: What drives up food prices?

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