Mon, 07 Mar 2005


Oslo, HK and Tokyo world's costliest cities

Oslo, Hong Kong and Tokyo are the top three most expensive cities in the world, a survey on prices and earnings showed on Saturday.

A basket of goods and services assembled in line with Western European consumer habits, excluding rent, costs twice as much in Oslo as the global average, according to the UBS findings published in The Business Times.

Rounding out the top 10 are New York, Zurich, Copenhagen, London, Basel, Chicago and Geneva.

If rent is included, Hong Kong, London and New York are the priciest places to live.

The basket is cheapest in Mumbai (Bombay), Buenos Aires and the Eastern European cities of Kiev, Bucharest and Sofia.

By continent, Western Europe and North America are the most expensive, where prices are 25 percent higher than the global average.

"The price differences between the most and least expensive cities in our comparison are on the whole less marked than they were three years ago," UBS was quoted as saying.

Tokyo has fallen from top place to third, reflecting the depreciation of the yen and deflationary pressures.

The cost of living in European cities has increased with the introduction of the euro, which has gained against the U.S. dollar.

In a breakdown of items, food prices are highest in Tokyo, where 39 items costs US$349. In Mumbai, they are $131.

A complete men's wardrobe costs the most in Chicago, New York, Tokyo and Oslo, between $1,190 and $1,390, according to the published findings.

The prices range from $230 to $410 in Manila, Bucharest and Sofia.

A full, mid-price women's wardrobe can he purchased for as little as $100 to $120 in Manila, Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo or Bombay. The cost soars to between $1,070 and $1,270 for women shopping in Tokyo, New York and Chicago.

Singapore is the most expensive for cars, followed by Oslo, Copenhagen and Athens.

"The cost of labor as a production factor is one of the reasons why prices differ between cities," UBS said.

"Cheap, low-qualified staff are comparatively thin on the ground in industrialized nations." -- DPA