European domestic letter prices rose 5% last year, says Deutsche Post survey

European domestic letter prices rose 5% last year, says Deutsche Post survey

Average domestic letter prices in Europe have increased by three euro-cents in the last year, according to the latest European letter price survey from Deutsche Post. The German national postal operator continued its annual survey of 28 EU countries, along with Iceland, Norway and Switzerland, stating that the average rate for sending a domestic letter in Europe is now EUR 0.62.

In the last year, letter prices have increased in 14 of the countries.

Letter prices have also increased in 14 countries for items going to other European countries, with the average rate for sending letters within Europe increasing by seven euro-cents to EUR 1.03.

This year Deutsche Post calculated letter rate changes taking inflation into account. It found that over the past 10 years, European postage rates have on average risen by 19.2% including inflation.

Romania, Denmark and Iceland had the biggest inflation-adjusted letter price increase from 2004 to 2013, the survey said respectively increasing 121.5% and 67.1%.

The UK had the fourth highest letter rate increase in the 10 years when adjusted for inflation, with a 62.5% price increase, partly thanks to the 30% rate increase in 2012, seen shortly after new regulator Ofcom deregulated Royal Mail’s prices. By comparison France had only a 5% rate increase over that time, including inflation, while Germany had a 7.8% price decrease.

Domestic letters

Finland had the biggest domestic letter price increase in 2013, of EUR 0.20, with the Netherlands opting for a EUR 0.10 increase. Rates increased by more than 10% in Denmark. Britain’s two pence price increase this year was effectively lost within currency movements, showing up as a one euro-cent fall in the Deutsche Post numbers.

Deutsche Post said its own rates were “very affordable”, rising two cents to EUR 0.60 in January, with only six “much smaller states” offering more affordable rates. The company said that when adjusted for inflation, its rtes have fallen by just under 8% since 2004.

As in past years, the highest nominal rates for letters in Europe is in Norway and Denmark respectively at EUR 1.28 and EUR 1.21 for a domestic letter, twice the European average. Finland now ranks third highest, at EUR 1.00, after its hefty price increase.

The UK is the seventh most expensive European country within which to send a domestic letter, on EUR 0.73, with France 11th (EUR 0.66) and Germany mid-table in 18th position.

Postage rates continue to be “particularly low” in Spain, Romania, Cyprus and Slovenia, while Malta continues to have the cheapest letter rate despite a EUR 0.06 price increase, a letter can be mailed for EUR 0.26.

Letters within Europe

Cross-border European letter rates rose in 14 European countries this year, including 11 countries that also put their domestic rates up. Germany, Norway and Iceland only increased their domestic rates, while Belgium, Sweden and Poland only increased their international rates.

The average price for a standard letter going within Europe rose by seven euro-cents to EUR 1.03.

The average has been pushed up by some sharp increases in individual countries, including a 25% increase in Finland to EUR 1.00, and a 17% increase in the Netherlands to EUR 1.05.

Portugal charges the highest rate for sending letters to other European countries, at EUR 1.90, not far ahead of Denmark on EUR 1.88. The UK is ninth in the list on EUR 1.14, France is in the bottom of the table at 22th position with a EUR 0.83 rate, with Germany 26th thanks to its EUR 0.75 rate.

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