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WEALTH

Oslo is world’s priciest city: study

Oslo, Zurich and Tokyo are the world's most expensive cities, but it is in the Swiss financial capital that residents enjoy the strongest purchasing power, according to a study published Friday.

Oslo is world's priciest city: study
Photo: Berit Roald/Scanpix

These three cities are the most costly on the planet when comparing prices for 122 goods and services, according to Swiss bank UBS, which carried out the analysis of purchasing power in 72 cities around the world.

"When rents are added to the mix, New York, Hong Kong and Dubai jump up in the list," the bank pointed out.

Not counting rents, New York is only in sixth place, Dubai ranks 22nd and Hong Kong 32nd.

The Indian cities of Delhi and Mumbai meanwhile have the lowest cost of living, the study showed.

These two cities also bring up the rear in terms of gross salary levels, with workers there on average receiving just six percent of the average wage in list-leader Zurich.

Geneva, another Swiss city, comes in second in the salary ranking, followed by Copenhagen, UBS said, adding though that after tax the Danish capital is bumped by Luxembourg.

Workers in Oslo, which according to the study is the world's most expensive city, meanwhile enjoy the fourth highest wages on the planet.

Zurich is also a winner in terms of purchasing power, with the net hourly wage in the city buying the most goods and services, UBS said.

"Workers in Zurich can buy an iPhone after 22 hours work. In Manila, by contrast, it takes around 20 times longer," the bank pointed out.

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WEALTH

Norway tops global prosperity ranking

Norway remains the most prosperous country in the world, edging its Scandinavian neighbours atop an annual list of countries ranked according to wealth and well-being.

Norway tops global prosperity ranking
Photo: Sara Johannessen/Scanpix
In the 2012 Prosperity Index published on Tuesday by the London-based Legatum Institute think tank, Sweden climbed to third place in 2012, up from fifth place in 2011.Norway, meanwhile, maintained its hold on the number one spot, while Denmark came in second.Published annually for the last six years, the Prosperity Index ranks 142 countries based on criteria in eight categories including economic strength, health, education and governance.

Denmark came second and Sweden third in the 2012 Prosperity Index (pdf) published on Tuesday by the London-based Legatum Institute think tank.

Published annually for the last six years, the Prosperity Index ranks 142 countries based on criteria in eight categories including economic strength, health, education and governance.

In the 2012 ranking, Sweden received highest marks in the "Entrepreneurship and Opportunity" sub-index, ranking second overall on the strength of low business start-up costs, high mobile phone penetration, and a high percentage of people who believe they will get ahead with hard work.

According to Legatum Institute CEO Jeffrey Gedmin, the index creates a "comprehensive picture of what makes a country truly successful, encompassing traditional measures of material wealth, as well as capturing citizens’ sense of well-being".

"GDP alone can never offer a complete view of prosperity," he said in a statement.

According to Gedmin, successful countries combine "social responsibility with personal freedom".

Despite continuing economic concerns in Europe, European countries dominated the top ten.

The United States, meanwhile, dropped out of the Prosperity Index top ten for the first time, dropping to twelfth place at what Gedmin called a "pivotal time" as the 2012 presidential elections draw closer.

“As the US struggles to reclaim the building blocks of the American Dream, now is a good time to consider who is best placed to lead the country back to prosperity and compete with the more agile countries that have pushed the US out of the top ten," he said.

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