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’12 Days of Christmas’ items now total $86,609

The price tag to purchase your true love each gift from the repeated verses of the fabled "Twelve Days of Christmas" carol is now an eye-popping $86,609.

Startling and dismaying for the romantic at heart — especially so considering the price has increased an astonishing $8,509, or 10.9%, over last year, according to the 24th annual “Christmas Price Index” compiled by PNC Wealth Management.

Similar to the Labor Department’s calculated Consumer Price Index (CPI), which is the most watched government inflation barometer, the tabulated PNC CPI offers insights into rising (or falling) prices and the economy. However, while the government’s annual CPI dropped to 3.7% in October, the PNC CPI registers at 8.1%.

The biggest price killer was the seven swans a-swimming, coming in at $5,600 and accounting for most of the increase. Should lovers "forget" the swans?

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Fed cuts interest rates to 1 percent, expects inflation to moderate

The Federal Reserve lowered its federal funds rate, the benchmark overnight lending rate at which banks lend to one another, by 50 basis points to 1 percent at Wednesday’s end of month scheduled meeting.

The latest rate is the lowest since 2004 and joins a new round of global cuts. China and Norway also cut rates on Wednesday, and other countries are expected to follow suite in an attempt to change the economic downturn and fight the ongoing crisis in the credit markets.

The Feds newest reduction follows on the heels of its emergency 1/2 percent interest rate cut on October 8 when world central banks first joined in their coordinated efforts to try to stabilize financial markets and ease out of the global credit crunch.

Today’s move was widely expected, although a minority of analysts suggested the Fed could cut rates by three-quarters of a percentage point to 0.75 percent, marking a never before seen low. Immediately following the announcement, U.S. stocks inched lower.

The announcement was made by the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC), who released the following statement:

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European inflation pressures recede, and could help U.S.

The European Central Bank (ECB) shifted away slightly from an inflationary guard on Thursday, as the bank suggested the possibility of reducing interest rates later this year to help spur growth. A European interest rate cut could, some economists say, help reduce U.S. inflation.

As expected Thursday, the central bank’s Governing Council left its benchmark interest rate at 4.25%. But statements by ECB President Jean-Claude Trichet focused on declining economic growth.

“Economic activity in the euro area is weakening with contracting domestic demand and tighter financing condition,” Trichet said. “The economic outlook is subject to increased downside risks.”

Continue reading European inflation pressures recede, and could help U.S.