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 TAMPA, Fla., Dec. 2 /PRNewswire/ -- Gift givers interested in buying their true loves items listed in the song "The Twelve Days of Christmas" can choose from a range of gifts priced from the affordable -- such as a partridge in a pear tree for $34.99 -- to the outrageous, such as 10 lords-a-leaping for $3,012.63.
 The well-heeled can impress their loved ones by purchasing all of the items, including a partridge in a pear tree, two calling birds, three French hens and so on, for $15,760.70.
 Since 1984, PNC Trust Company of Florida has been calculating the prices of the items listed in the perennial holiday song. PNC's 1993 Christmas Price Index represents a 1.1 percent increase over last year's price of $15,581.96. That's a lower inflation rate than the government's Consumer Price Index (CPI), a measure of inflation that was up 2.8 percent for the same period.
 "PNC's Christmas Price Index tends to be a good barometer for the nation's Consumer Price Index," said PNC economist J. Patrick Bradley. "When PNC's CPI slows down, so does the nation's. The slower rate of growth in PNC's Christmas Price Index is presaging slower inflation generally."
 Many prices from last year's Christmas Price Index remained unchanged. For example, consumers can still buy two turtle doves for $50 and six geese-a-laying for $150. And a steady minimum wage of $4.25 kept the cost of eight maids-a-milking at $34.
 Pear trees, previously the best bargain at $12.50, weren't discounted as much this year and were thus superseded in affordability by the partridge and the three French hens, both $15. Rising service prices explain the approximately $179 increase from 1992 for all of the gifts listed in "The Twelve Days of Christmas." According to a musicians' union, 11 pipers piping go for $1,081.08 today, up from $1,053 in 1992. And 12 drummers drumming, priced last year at $1,140.75, now cost $1,171.17. The numbers represent a 2.7 percent increase over last year's prices.
 "It's true that services are a growing portion of the U.S. economic activity and would be the strongest source of domestic inflationary pressures," said Bradley. "Yet, even the 2.7 percent increase for pipers and drummers is still a bit less than the national rate of inflation at 2.8 percent."
 Prices rose in certain segments of the entertainment industry. Dance companies reported no price increase for nine ladies dancing but a 3 percent increase for 10 lords-a-leaping. Both sets of performers can be hired for $2,606.83 and $3,012.63, respectively.
 "Flat pricing in some entertainment segments of the economy is a recent phenomenon," Bradley said. "Since 1986, prices of these dancers have risen at a 7.2 percent compounded annual rate. However, slow economic activity has limited all businesses' ability to pass along price increases to consumers. That's true for the entertainment industry, too. Another phenomenon influencing pricing could be the reduction in public and private support, which has caused entertainment groups to economize salary gains for their performers."
 The cost of five gold rings increased 8.3 percent from $300 in 1992 to $325 this year, which is 14 times more than PNC's Christmas Price Index. This reverses a three-year trend of declining ring prices.
 "Gold prices are beginning to rise, up 4.9 percent this year after declining for the past three years," Bradley said. "This increase is only about half that of the 8.3 percent increase in gold rings. While ring prices have risen, they are affordable compared to 1989 prices, when five gold rings fetched $750, up 20 percent from the previous year."
 Bradley added that international events are a prime cause for movement in the price of gold. "International events, like the turmoil in Russia, make people nervous," he said. "Nervous investors buy gold, thus pushing up prices. Rapidly rising inflation in China has also helped to boost demand for gold and, as a result, its price."
 If consumers want to be true to the song, then by the end of the 12 days they will have given their true loves 12 partridges in a pear tree, 36 calling birds, 40 maids-a-milking, 22 pipers piping and so on, for a total 364 presents. The total cost for all 364 gifts would be $72,258.42 -- not a gift for the light of heart or pocketbook.
 PNC Trust Company of Florida is an affiliate of PNC Bank, which is the llth largest banking organization in the United States. With assets of $52.3 billion in assets at Sept. 30, 1993, PNC Bank operates more than 550 community banking offices throughout Pennsylvania, Delaware, Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana. PNC Bank's major lines of business include retail banking, corporate banking, investment management and trust, and investment banking.
 PNC Bank Corp. (NYSE: PNC) operates as PNC Bank in Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Ohio and Indiana. Its Bank of Delaware will change its name to PNC Bank early in 1994. PNC Bank Corp. is headquartered in Pittsburgh.
 The following table shows the year-over-year cost of the items:
 1990 1991 1992 1993
 One partridge in a pear tree $27.48 $27.50 $27.50 $34.99
 Partridge 15.00 15.00 15.00 15.00
 Pear tree 12.48 12.50 12.50 19.99
 Two turtle doves 50.00 50.00 50.00 50.00
 Three French hens 15.00 15.00 15.00 15.00
 Four calling birds 280.00 280.00 280.00 280.00
 Five gold rings 600.00 412.50 300.00 325.00
 Six geese-a-laying 150.00 150.00 150.00 150.00
 Seven swans-a-swimming 7,000.00 7,000.00 7,000.00 7,000.00
 Eight maids-a-milking 30.40 34.00 34.00 34.00
 Nine ladies dancing 2,417.90 2,555.72 2,606.83 2,606.83
 Ten lords-a-leaping 2,686.56 2,839.69 2,896.48 3,012.63
 Eleven pipers piping 947.70 1,003.86 1,053.00 1,081.08
 Twelve drummers drumming 1,026.68 1,087.52 1,140.75 1,171.17
 Total cost of items
 in Christmas Price Index 15,231.72 15,455.79 15,581.96 15,760.70
 Percent change 4.34 1.47 0.82 1.15
 True cost to buy all
 items in song 72,205.12 71,907.19 71,618.71 72,258.42
 Percent change 1.75 (0.41) (0.40) 0.89
 -0- 12/2/93
 /NOTE TO EDITORS: For more information on PNC Trust Company of Florida's Christmas Price Index, call Pat Bradley at 215-585-5314, or Rebekah Fickling at 215-585-7677./
 /CONTACT: Linda Wolohan of PNC Bank, 215-585-5265/

CO: PNC Bank Corp. ST: Pennsylvania IN: FIN SU: ECO

MJ-LJ -- PH012 -- 9817 12/02/93 12:29 EST
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Date:Dec 2, 1993

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