Baltics see some of EU's largest price rises in cultural sector

Detailed data on consumer price developments for cultural goods and services were published by Eurostat September 7, showing the change in the average annual rate of selected indices of cultural goods and services in EU countries between 2016 and 2021 and between 2020 and 2021. The Baltic states emerged as the countries experiencing some of the fastest price growth in the cultural sector.

In 2016-2021, the average annual consumer price inflation rate in the EU level was 1.7 %. At that time, nine EU countries recorded a rate of change of more than 2 % a year for their domestic all-items  Harmonised index of consumer prices (HICP). In 2020-2021, the rate of consumer price inflation accelerated, amounting to 2.9 % annually at EU level. In this period, 22 EU countries registered consumer price inflation above 2 % a year.

Between 2016 and 2021, prices of newspapers and magazines grew by 4.0 % per year on average in the EU, while prices of books remained at a similar level throughout these years.

In 2016-2021, in 24 out of 27 EU countries, the average annual growth rate of the ‘newspapers and periodicals’ sub-index was higher than the same rate for all-items HICP. Furthermore, in 11 countries, this sub-index growth rate exceeded the 5 % year-on-year pace. Cyprus was the only EU country where the average price of newspapers and periodicals was slightly lower in 2021 than in 2016.

In the same period, the annual average growth rate for the ‘cultural services’ sub-index was close to the all-items HICP in 15 out of 27 EU countries (the difference between these rates was up to one percentage point).

"The EU’s Baltic Member States recorded the fastest growth rate of this sub-index (over 4 % per year). Greece and Romania were the only EU countries where the average price of cultural services decreased in 2021 compared to 2016," said Eurostat.

Of all the cultural sub-indices of the HICP, the ‘books’ index changed the least in value between 2016 and 2021 at EU level. The average price of books fell below the values recorded in 2016 in seven countries. The fastest decline in book prices was recorded in Portugal and Hungary (-15.3 % and -15.1 % a year on average, respectively). In 13 other EU countries the ‘books’ sub-index grew slower than the average inflation. The fastest growth was recorded in Denmark – the ‘books’ sub-index of the HICP grew as much as by 7.7 % a year on average.

Data on price rises in cultural sector
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