(see related stories) Rome, January 9 - The spending power of households in recession-hit Italy fell by a massive 4.1% in the first nine months of 2012 compared to the same period in 2011, Istat said Wednesday. A factor is the tax increases that led to Italian disposable incomes being 1.9% lower in the third quarter of last year than in the same three months in 2011, the national statistics agency said. Spending power has also been eroded by drops in real incomes caused by inflation outstripping salary increases. There was a positive note though. While disposable incomes were down in the third quarter of 2012 compared to the same period in 2011, they were 0.5% up on the second quarter of last year.