Spend, spend, spend

  • 2007-11-19
  • By Mike Collier

RIGA -- The Baltic states aren't just catchingup with Western European spending power 's in some instances they have alreadyexceeded it, according to a new survey.

In several regions of Central and Eastern Europe, peopleare wealthier than their Western European neighbors, according to researchcompany GfK. In the Baltic capital cities, the residents now have more disposableincome than those of Italy's poorest communities.

However, in a country comparison, the new EU member states are stilllagging behind.

European consumers have a total of around 8,000 billion euros to spendfrom their household net income. This corresponds to an average purchasingpower, or disposable income, of around 11,998 euros per capita across the 40countries surveyed. This figure includes state payments such as unemploymentbenefit, child support allowance and pensions.

With an average purchasing power of 27,521 euros in Switzerland and Liechtenstein and 27,395 euros in Luxembourg, these three countries are still Europe's most affluent areas.

Latvia's purchasing power has improved, moving up fourplaces in the purchasing power ranking and the country is now in 25th place.Similarly, its Baltic neighbors Estonia and Lithuania have all climbed up the rankings.

Furthermore, in the capital cities of the Baltic states, purchasing power is above the national average - in Vilnius by almost 30 percent and in Riga by around 25%. Residents here have more money thanthose of Agerola, the Italian municipality with the weakest purchasing power,which is almost two thirds below the national average.