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MONEY

Energy crisis: Which everyday German products are increasing the most in price?

Inflation in Germany reached 10.4 percent in October – the highest level in 70 years. The Federal Statistical Office has now announced which prices have risen particularly sharply.

A woman takes a €5 banknote out of her purse.
A woman takes a €5 banknote out of her purse. Photo: picture alliance/dpa/dpa-Zentralbild | Fernando Gutierrez-Juarez

Energy prices

Energy prices in Germany have risen significantly as a result of the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the squeeze on cheap energy supplies and high energy prices are the biggest driver of inflation.

Despite the relief measures taken by the federal government over the past year, energy prices in October were 43 percent higher than in the same month last year.

READ ALSO: KEY POINTS: Germany’s inflation relief measures to support people in cost of living crisis

According to the German Federal Statistical Office, household energy in particular has become significantly more expensive.

Prices for natural gas, for example, have more than doubled since last October – increasing by 109.8 percent.

The cost of heating with other energy sources has also risen sharply – the price of firewood, wood pellets or other solid fuels has increased by 108.1 percent since October 2021, while the price of heating oil has increased by 83 percent. Electricity prices have also increased by 26 percent.

A man fills up his car at a gas station in Duisburg. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Christoph Reichwein

Prices for gasoline and diesel have also risen by more than 22 percent since last year. In October, an average 40-litre tank of Super E10 cost €76 – €10 more than a year ago and €26 more than in 2020. 

Groceries

According to the Federal Statistical Office’s report, private households are now paying on average 20.3 percent more for groceries than in October 2021.

The biggest price hike has been for edible fats and oils – such as butter and cooking oil – which have increased by 49.7 percent since last October.

A girl spreads butter on a slice of bread. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Patrick Pleul

Dairy products and eggs are 28.9 percent more expensive than a year ago, while vegetables and cereal products are 23.1 and 19.8 percent more expensive respectively.

The statisticians attribute the price increases to supply bottlenecks and problems in the upstream stages of the production chain as the main reasons for these cost hikes. 

READ ALSO: Fact check: Is Germany heading into a recession next year?

Prices for meat have also risen by 19.3 percent within the last year, as the cost of energy, fertilizer and feed has risen sharply, while labour shortages and minimum wage increases have made personnel costs more expensive.

Vocabulary 

Price increases – (die) Preiserhöhungen

Wood pellets – (die) Holzpellets

Heating oil – (das) Heizöl

Dairy products – (die) Molkereiprodukte

Cereal products – (die) Getreideprodukte

We’re aiming to help our readers improve their German by translating vocabulary from some of our news stories. Did you find this article useful? Let us know.

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MONEY

Germany reaches agreement on Bürgergeld – with a couple of catches

Members of Germany’s traffic light coalition government and the opposition Christian Democratic Union party have reached an agreement in the dispute over plans for a new citizens‘ income. There will be tougher sanctions against benefit recipients and fewer discretionary assets.

Germany reaches agreement on Bürgergeld - with a couple of catches

Last week, the German government’s plans to reform unemployment benefits with its new “Bürgergeld”, or citizens’ income, proposals were blocked in the Bundesrat.

The legislation was held up mostly by members of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU/CSU) which had been strongly opposed to the proposals for a six-month Vertrauenszeit (trust period) in which benefits claimants would not incur sanctions, as well as to the amount of assets recipients would be able to hold on to.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: Will Germany’s controversial Bürgergeld still come into force?

On Tuesday, politicians from the traffic light coalition parties and the CDU/CSU reached a compromise on the proposed reforms which means that some of the key measures will be scrapped.

No trust period

The CDU/CSU was able to push through its demand for more sanctions for recipients and the six-month trust period will now be scrapped completely.

Instead, it will be possible to enforce benefit sanctions from the first day of an unemployment benefits claim if recipients don’t apply for a job, or fail to turn up for appointments at the job centre, for example.

The CDU and CSU also demanded that unemployment benefits recipients be allowed to keep less of their own assets when they receive state benefits. The original plan had been for assets worth up to €60,000 to be protected for the first two years, but the compromise reached has knocked this down to €40,000 for one year – during which time benefits recipients will not have to use up their savings.

Following the announcement of the agreement, Green Party later Britta Haßelmann said “I regret it very much”. According to Haßelmann, the trust period was the core of the reform designed to stop people from having to take up “just any job”.

READ ALSO: Bürgergeld: What to know about Germany’s unemployment benefits shake-up

Other traffic light colleagues were more optimistic, however. Katja Mast from the SDP spoke of a “workable compromise in the spirit of the matter,” while FDP Parliamentary Secretary Johannes Vogel said that it had succeeded in “making a good law even better”.

CDU/CSU leader Friedrich Merz, meanwhile, sees the compromise as a great success for his party, though he also praised the willingness of the parties in the government to reach an agreement.

“The coalition was very quick and – to my surprise – very largely willing to make compromises here,” Merz said. 

What happens next?

Tomorrow, the Mediation Committee of the Bundestag and Bundesrat will meet to discuss the proposals. If the agreement is confirmed, the welfare reform could clear the final hurdle when it is voted on Bundesrat again at the end of the week. According to the federal government’s plans, if it’s approved, Bürgergeld will come into force in January and replace the current Hartz IV system. 

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