Oslo is the world's most expensive city followed by London and Copenhagen, while a worker in Copenhagen makes about 20 times more than one in Delhi, according to a UBS AG study on prices and earnings. Oslo is three times as expensive as Kuala Lumpur, based on rankings of 71 cities cited in the study published today by Zurich-based UBS, Europe's biggest bank by assets. The last time the survey was completed in 2003, Oslo was also most expensive, followed by Hong Kong and Tokyo. The study excluded rent. “Including rent” in the rankings, “London and New York are the most expensive places to live by a wide margin,” UBS analysts Andreas Hoefert and Pu Yonghao said in the study. A worker in Copenhagen earned the highest wages, followed by one in Oslo, Zurich, Geneva, New York and London. Delhi, Manila and Jakarta workers earned the least. In Western Europe and North America, workers in 14 professions averaged $18 in gross hourly wage. In Eastern European and Asian cities, the worker got $4 to $5 per hour, according to the study. According to the study, “Based on a 42-hour work week, Asian workers labor about 50 days a year” more than their peers in Paris or Berlin. In Asian cities, people work the longest with a “mean annual working time of 2,088 hours.” That compares with 1,480 hours in Paris and 1,610 in Berlin, the study says. Scandinavian and German cities “lose ground due to their high tax rates and social security payments” when gross and net salaries are compared. Stockholm ranked 16th on a gross salary basis and 21st in terms of net salary. Berlin ranked 14th in terms of gross salary and 16th on a net basis. On a net salary basis, workers in Zurich and Geneva earned the most, followed by those in Oslo, Dublin and New York. The two Swiss cities also ranked first in purchasing power, according to the study, based on net hourly pay divided by the cost of 122 goods and services, excluding rent. They were followed by Dublin, Los Angeles and Luxembourg. Based on a separate index of how long a worker must labor to earn a Big Mac hamburger, Tokyo leads with only 10 minutes, the least of any in 70 cities. A worker in Bogota needs 97 minutes, the longest of any of the 70 cities, UBS said. (Bloomberg)
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