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Want a Big Mac in Norway? Prepare to pay world’s second-highest price

Norway has the second most overvalued currency in the world according to The Economist’s Big Mac Index 2017, which puts the Nordic country behind only Switzerland.

Want a Big Mac in Norway? Prepare to pay world's second-highest price
A Big Mac in Norway will set you back 49 kroner, or $5.67. Photo: rob_rob2001/Flickr
Invented in 1986 as a light-hearted guide to purchasing power parity, the Big Mac Index compares the cost of a McDonald’s Big Mac burger in countries across the world. 
 
Using the US dollar as the base rate, the 2017 Index showed a Big Mac in Norway to cost $5.67 (49 kroner) compared with $5.06 in the US, meaning the krone is overvalued by 12 percent.
 
The exchange rate that would equalize the price of a burger in the two countries is 9.68 kroner to the dollar, while the actual exchange rate is 8.65 kroner.
 
Norway was surpassed only by Switzerland, where a Big Mac costs $6.35 and the Swiss franc is overvalued by 25.5 percent.
 
Sweden, Venezuela and Brazil were the only other countries to have pricier burgers than the States. 
 
According to this ‘burgernomics’, the euro and the pound are undervalued by 19.7 percent and 26.3 percent respectively, said The Economist. 
 
However, the situation is different in an adjusted version of the index which takes into account labour costs and GDP. 
 
When adjusting for Norway’s average income, the kroner is actually undervalued by 3.3 percent, The Economist found.
 
Brazil topped the adjusted index, which showed the Brazilian real to be 66 percent overvalued.
 
“This adjusted index addresses the criticism that you would expect average burger prices to be cheaper in poor countries than in rich ones because labour costs are lower,” said the Index authors. 
 
“The relationship between prices and GDP per person may be a better guide to the current fair value of a currency.”  
 
Although Switzerland has topped the raw index for a few years running, Norway had the world’s most expensive Big Macs as recently as 2014
 

SAS

‘We agree to disagree’: Still no progress in marathon SAS strike talks

By lunchtime on Friday, talks between the Scandinavian airline SAS and unions representing striking pilots were still stuck on "difficult issues".

'We agree to disagree': Still no progress in marathon SAS strike talks

“We agree that we disagree,” Roger Klokset, from the Norwegian pilots’ union, said at lunchtime outside the headquarters of the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise in Stockholm, where talks are taking place. “We are still working to find a solution, and so long as there is still some point in continuing negotiations, we will do that.” 

Mats Ruland, a mediator for the Norwegian government, said that there were “still several difficult issues which need to be solved”. 

At 1pm on Friday, the two sides took a short break from the talks for lunch, after starting at 9am. On Thursday, they negotiated for 15 hours, breaking off at 1am on Friday morning. 

READ ALSO: What’s the latest on the SAS plane strike?

Marianne Hernæs, SAS’s negotiator on Friday told journalists she was tired after sitting at the negotiating table long into the night. 

“We need to find a model where we can meet in the middle and which can ensure that we pull in the income that we are dependent on,” she said. 

Klokset said that there was “a good atmosphere” in the talks, and that the unions were sticking together to represent their members.

“I think we’ve been extremely flexible so far. It’s ‘out of this world’,’ said Henrik Thyregod, with the Danish pilots’ union. 

“This could have been solved back in December if SAS had not made unreasonable demands on the pilots,” Klokset added. 

The strike, which is now in its 12th day, has cost SAS up to 130m kronor a day, with 2,550 flights cancelled by Thursday, affecting 270,000 passengers. 

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