The Swiss banking capital is still the world’s most expensive city, according to the 17th edition of a report from the Swiss bank UBS, published Tuesday, May 29. When it comes to buying power, however, Los Angeles residents’ salaries go furthest.
This UBS ranking, first carried out in 1971, compares salaries and the cost of living in 77 international cities based on a basket of 128 goods and services, as well as the average earnings of 15 professions.
When it comes to prices, Zurich (Switzerland, 1st), Geneva (Switzerland, 2nd) and Oslo (Norway, 3rd) have the world’s highest. Europe is particularly well represented in the top 10 most expensive cities, with Copenhagen (Denmark, 4th), Milan (Italy, 7th), London (UK, 8th) and Helsinki (Finland, 10th). The USA also has some pricey cities, with New York (5th) and Chicago (9th) both making the top 10.
However, when it comes to purchasing power, Los Angeles leads the way, with LA residents now able to afford almost a quarter more than New Yorkers. Zurich, despite its high prices, follows in second place.
Purchasing power grows in the Middle East
Things have changed since the previous UBS ranking in 2015, with buying power in Middle Eastern countries notably on the up. Doha (Qatar) is up from 39th place to 17th in the table. Similarly, Dubai is up from 27th to 14th and the Bahrain capital Manama is up from 17th to 8th. Meanwhile, purchasing power has fallen in Brussels (Belgium), dropping to 41st place, and Paris, which falls from 25th to 33rd.
At the other end of the scale, Lagos, in Nigeria, has the lowest buying power, behind Cairo (Egypt) and Jakarta (Indonesia). Note that Lagos and Cairo are also the cities with the lowest prices.
Comparatively, although pricing policy differs from one country to the next, workers in Zurich would need to work 4.7 days to buy an iPhone X, whereas those in Lagos would need to work 133.3 days to buy Apple’s latest flagship smartphone. In China, workers in Beijing would need to work 39.3 days to buy an iPhone X, while for those in Hong Kong, 9.4 days would suffice.