Then news from Euroland - when the consumer doesn't know the price of fish

Jurriaan Bendien J.Bendien at
Fri Jan 17 16:19:44 MST 2003

Utrecht - The first euroyear sat badly with Dutchmen. Nearly three quarters
feel that they became financially worse off last year. In addition there is
a worrying lack of eurofeeling, and a declining confidence in the euro

This was a finding of a survey by the National Institute for Budget
Education (NIBUD) among 3357 people, which was presented on Friday.
According to the Institute almost everybody (99 percent) thinks that prices
have gone up. Most people attribute this to the euro.

The respondents think that especially daily groceries, council levies,
clothing and bars/restaurants have become more expensive. Almost half
reduced spending the most on new clothing and luxury goods. More than half
of households, both low income and higher income households, do their
shopping in other shops than before.

NIBUD signals a worryingly sloppy use of euro's: only 13 percent of
respondents compares, after a year of the euro, shop prices in the euro
currency. As well, few actually can state euro prices of ordinary products
like bread, a pack of coffee, etc. but this applies also to for example the
value of their own home.

Moreover, half of the respondents didn't even know what their own salary was
in euro's. This worries NIBUD as well: "Simply put, you got to know what
your income is, so that you know what you can spend".

Despite reducing spending, about 51 percent of households with an income
below the modal average were for the first time,  in the red than in 2001,
or more in the red. Among income earners above the modal average this was 41
percent. On average, 16 percent could not pay their debts on time, and
almost half had to take money out of a savings account to pay them.

More than 40 percent says they fear that they will never get used to the
euro, although this percentage was only 20 percent in August. Nearly 60
percent (especially youths and men) want to get rid of 1 and 2 cent coins,
although some think this will lead to new round-offs and price hikes. Six in
ten Dutchmen say they miss the Dutch guilder.

Five in ten Dutchmen think that this year they will be financially worse off
than in 2002. NIBUD believes that the pessimists could be right in this.
>From buying power reports published earlier by the Institute, it appears
that the rise in health insurance and pension premiums cut heavily into the
household budget.

Translated from

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