Sat, Aug 20, 2011 - Page 11 News List

Taipei is world’s 44th most expensive city: survey

Staff Writer, with CNA

Taipei ranked the 44th most expensive city worldwide and sixth in the Asia-Pacific region, according to the latest data released by UBS Wealth Management Research on Wednesday.

UBS publishes an in-depth survey titled Prices and Earnings every three years.

The study covers three categories — price levels, wage levels and domestic purchasing power — among the 73 cities surveyed worldwide.

Taipei ranked sixth in the Asia-Pacific region in the price level category, trailing behind Tokyo, Sydney, Singapore, Seoul and Hong Kong, the report showed.

Oslo remained the most expensive city in the world. Zurich came in second, followed by Geneva, Copenhagen, Stockholm and Tokyo.

In the wage-level category, Taipei ranked 40th, behind Sydney, Tokyo and Seoul in the region, but ahead of Hong Kong and Singapore.

Zurich, Geneva and Copenhagen topped the global charts in wage levels.

UBS said a common impression among Taiwanese was that the average wage levels in Hong Kong and Singapore were higher than those in Taiwan, but that only applies to executives.

The UBS survey centered on the average wage, with Taipei coming out higher.

As for domestic purchasing power, Taipei was in 33rd position, leading Hong Kong, Seoul and Singapore in the Asia-Pacific region.

The top three cities worldwide were Zurich, Sydney and Luxembourg.

Domestic purchasing power is determined by comparing price levels against wage levels and, as a result, high wage levels do not always equate to high purchasing power, UBS said.

For example, Luxembourg placed 13th and eighth in terms of price and wage levels respectively, but it ranked among the world’s top three in terms of purchasing power.

UBS also launched a free iPhone application of “Prices and Earnings.” With the app, prices of a wide range of commodities could be compared in select cities, with the exchange rates updated several times a day so that users can follow price fluctuations promptly.

UBS said that because of the hammering that the US dollar suffered over the past year, it chose the euro as the base currency for the study. The euro appreciated against all currencies except the Swiss franc and Australian dollar, it said.

In the survey, New York was set as the base for price levels, wage levels and domestic purchasing power.

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