Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Tokyo still costliest city but Oslo now close second - Economist

Tokyo still costliest city but Oslo now close second

LONDON (Kyodo) Tokyo has retained its title as the world's most expensive city, but Oslo is vying for top spot, according to the biannual Worldwide Cost of Living Survey released Monday by the Economist Intelligence Unit.

Oslo leapfrogged Osaka to become the world's second most costly city, due to robust economic growth and inflation boosted by rising property and oil prices, according to the survey.

"Japan has been locked into a pattern of low or negative inflation for some years now as a result of unemployment and a number of economic problems," said Jon Copestake, an editor of the report.

The London-based Economist Intelligence Unit is the business information arm of The Economist Group, publisher of The Economist magazine.

Its biannual survey compares the cost of a representative basket of goods and services in dollar terms from more than 130 cities worldwide to help firms calculate executive allowances.

New York is used as a base index of 100 for comparison.

In real terms -- when combined with the yen's poor performance against a number of currencies -- several countries have gained ground on Japan because they have a generally upward trend in prices, as seen in Oslo, according to the report.

Similar reasons have seen Reykjavik prosper enough to take fourth place, while London has stopped its ascent of recent years, slipping two places to eighth.

China's decision to unpeg the yuan to the dollar and falling prices of Western consumer items meant Chinese cities -- despite the buoyant economy -- have seen the most significant drop in the rankings, with Beijing falling 17 places.

The Japan Times: Aug. 10, 2005


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