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High inflation widens social, economic gap in Germany: economic expert

A customer prepares to leave a gas station in Berlin, capital of Germany, March 11, 2022. (Xinhua/Shan Yuqi)

Since people with low incomes are spending a majority of their income on basic supplies such as energy and food, they are feeling the effects of inflation three times as strongly as those on high incomes, Fratzscher stressed.

BERLIN, Nov. 24 (Xinhua) -- Record inflation in Europe's largest economy has hit people on low incomes much harder, said president of the German Institute for Economic Research Marcel Fratzscher on Thursday.

"The social gap is widening at the moment, and even more than during the pandemic," Fratzscher told German media.

Since people with low incomes are spending a majority of their income on basic supplies such as energy and food, they are feeling the effects of inflation three times as strongly as those on high incomes, Fratzscher stressed.

Customers shop at a supermarket in Frankfurt, Germany, on Aug. 1, 2022. (Xinhua/Shan Weiyi)

A similar trend can also be seen among German companies. "Some of the big players are making big profits even in these times, while many medium-sized companies (…) are barely surviving," Fratzscher said.

A study also published on Thursday by the Institute of Economic and Social Research at the Hans Boeckler Foundation found that the financial gap between households below the poverty line and the median income had already grown significantly before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

This development was an "extremely poor starting position for the continued social stress tests" caused by the ongoing pandemic, the Russia-Ukraine conflict and record inflation, the foundation said.

Inflation in Germany climbed to 10.4 percent in October, the highest level since 1990, according to the Federal Statistical Office. The development was mainly driven by rising energy and food prices, which were up by 43 percent and 20 percent year-on-year, respectively.

People stand on a flyover of a shopping mall in Berlin, capital of Germany, Feb. 11, 2022. (Photo by Stefan Zeitz/Xinhua)■