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5th February 2007

The average hourly wage paid to UK workers is 26.5 euros (17.40), more than a euro higher than the average eurozone total (25.2 euros/16.55) and sixth in the list of the world's top payers according to a new report, the Global Sectors Outlook (December 2006) from Euler Hermes, the world's largest credit insurance group.

Sweden heads the list of top payers, their employees earning an average of 32.8 euros (21.53) an hour, closely followed by Denmark, (31.7 euros/20.81), France (29.6 euros/19.43) and Germany (28.1 euros/18.45).

China pays its workforce the least - an average of only one euro (65 pence) an hour. Other poor payers include many of the former Eastern Bloc countries and those vying for membership of the EU including Romania (2.6 euros/1.71 per hour) and Poland (6.2 euros/4.07 an hour).

Of the other major countries of interest, averages wages in the US stand at 18.4 euros (12.08) per hour, whereas the average wage in Japan is 16.4 euros (10.77) per hour.

Euler Hermes Global Sector Outlook analyses the health and performance of all of the major business sectors, with forecasts founded upon the microeconomic expertise of Euler Hermes group underwriters and analysts who closely monitor risk in companies worldwide through its network of 30 local subsidiaries.

* conversion based on 1 euro: 65.65 pence.

Supplied by Euler Hermes UK