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Mumbai cheapest city in the world: Survey

Last updated on: August 23, 2003 02:38 IST

Mumbai and Buenos Aires, capital of Argentina, are the least expensive cities in the world, if one goes by a survey conducted by Swiss banking giant UBS.

The survey also found Oslo, the capital of Norway, to have overtaken Tokyo as world's most expensive city. In fact Hong Kong occupies the second slot, with Tokyo relegated to third.

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The survey was based on a study of 70 cities. New York, Zurich, Copenhagen and London followed Tokyo. The costliest EU cities include Paris (13), Helsinki (14), Vienna (16) and Dublin (17). Bringing up the rear in the prices table are Mumbai (70), Buenos Aires (69), Kiev (68) and Karachi (67).

The most remarkable progress has been that of Buenos Aires, which was the most expensive city in South America three years back.

The bank's 'Prices and Earnings' analysis compares incomes and the cost of living based on the cost of a basket of 111 goods and services, excluding rents. It said the Swiss cities of Zurich, Geneva and Basel had the highest purchasing power, followed by Los Angeles and Luxembourg.

In practical terms, the survey said that people in Miami, Los Angeles and Chicago needed to work just 10 minutes to earn the price of a Big Mac hamburger. This compared with 185 minutes in Nairobi, Kenya, and 132 minutes in Karachi.

UBS economists arrived at these figures by dividing the price of a hamburger by the average net hourly pay across 13 occupations.

It said that Oslo had risen to the top of the expensive city list because of the appreciation of the Norwegian krone and the depreciation of the yen combined with the deflationary trend in Japan.

A press release issued by the UBS said Prices and Earnings is a global overview of prices for goods and services, wages, wage deductions and working hours on all 5 continents.

"Since prices on their own say little about what people in a particular city can actually afford, purchasing power is also compared in order to assess the relationship between prices and earnings in each city. A total of 35,000 individual data items were collected and evaluated in 70 cities around the world. Wherever possible, the survey focused on local products and wages for local workers," the release said.

"Differences in purchasing power are best looked at using real-world examples. The average worker in Nairobi must work more than three hours to pay for a Big Mac, but those in the US cities of Los Angeles, Chicago and Miami barely have to work ten minutes. Asians and Africans work much longer for a kilogramme of rice or bread than Western Europeans and North Americans," it added.