labels: economy - general
Living costs least in Mumbai, but wages are low news
10 August 2006

Mumbai: Mumbai and Delhi are among the least expensive cities in the world. But there is a catch. There is not enough money to spend for people living in the two biggest cities of the country. These are the findings of a study, Price and Earnings 2006, conducted by Swiss banking major and the world''s largest wealth manager, UBS.

Mumbai has emerged as the second least expensive city, while Delhi ranks a bit higher as the fourth least expensive. However, the study says, wage levels in these two cities are among the lowest in the world. The gross earnings in Indian cities on the whole are less than 10 per cent of the wages in top-ranked cities.

Delhi is the lowest in the earnings chart with gross hourly average wage of $ 6.1, as against Copenhagen''s $118.2, UBS said in its Price and Earnings 2006 report.

While a Delhiite needs to work nearly one hour (59 minutes) to buy a large McDonald burger against the global average of 35 minutes of work, the time is as high as one-and-a-half hours in Nairobi. In contrast, in US cities like Los Angeles, New York, Chicago and Miami a maximum of 13 minutes are needed to earn enough to buy a Big Mac, the report pointed out.

Seol is the 24th most expensive city among the 71 major cities in the world and people living in the city work the longest hours, according to the report. In the Asia Pacific region, Seoul is the second most expensive city after Tokyo, the fifth most expensive city globally.

Tokyo has the highest wage levels with a $17.70 gross income per hour, followed by Sydney. Workers in Tokyo, Taipei and Seoul. Sydney and Auckland with the highest purchasing power in the region have made it into the top ten worldwide.

Oslo, London, Copenhagen, Zurich and Tokyo are the five most expensive cities, excluding the cost of housing. The study is based on 122 standardised goods and services and covers 71 cities globally.

Prices and Earnings is a survey published by the economists at UBS every three years. It compares the prices of goods and services, wages, wage deductions and working hours, along with the resulting purchasing power, in 71 cities across all continents. More than 35,000 data items are collected and analysed during research for the publication. Exchange rates and differences in inflation have a crucial impact on the comparison over time, and this update is simply based on the statistics from the 2003 analysis, adjusted for relative inflation and recalculated to reflect current exchange rates (as at end-2004). In addition, differing rates of productivity growth are factored into the recalculated figures for wages.


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Living costs least in Mumbai, but wages are low