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Europe

German Press Review: No Euro Price Hikes

German newspapers on Wednesday scrutinized a recent survey that shows the introduction of the euro did not result in an increase in consumer prices as most Germans had feared.

Referring to a study that indicated prices generally haven't increased in Germany with the introduction of the euro, the Rhein-Neckar Zeitung from Heidelberg repeated something Winston Churchill once said: "Never trust a statistic that you haven't forged yourself." The paper noted that other euro zone countries have not been persuaded to phase out the double price tags like in Germany where the old deutsche mark value no longer appears on the label alongside the euro price. And this would have prevented an increase in prices even in restaurants that would have to display both prices on their menus.

The Nordsee-Zeitung from Brevenhaven was less skeptical, saying the restaurant and cafe owners have received the greatest criticism about increasing their prices with the transition to the euro. The paper argued it is perfectly legitimate for those in the hospitality industry to raise their prices in the interests of making a profit. Consumers could sacrifice going out to dinner so often but they don't, it opined.

The Mannheimer Morgen conceded there are always a few black sheep who doubled the price of their eight deutsche mark pizza to eight euros. But the inflation that everyone feels, is not necessarily true inflation, noted the daily, adding for example the increases in tobacco or health insurance are due to government policies and not the euro.

On another economic topic, the Berliner Morgenpost thinks the latest Ifo index which showed a newly positive upturn in sentiment within the business community is occasion for joy. Yet the paper warned the situation remains unstable. The majority of Germans are deeply unsettled by the economic situation and it pointed out the mood is only improving among the country's top firms - in other words those who can afford to take risks.