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How global cities rank after the financial crisis


London bus passes Swiss Re Gherkin building Reuters photoLondon, once one of the world’s most expensive cities, now ranks in the middle of the pack of European cities in terms of the cost of living. The sharp drop in the value of British pound largely is to blame for the decline of London’s ranking from the second priciest city three years ago to No. 22, according to a study of comparative purchasing power by UBS of 73 cities around the globe.

New York, Oslo and Geneva now have the highest living expenses in the world.  Excluding rent and energy, Oslo, Zurich and Copenhagen have the highest prices. Offsetting those costs, these cities also rank as having some of the highest gross wages in the world. Zurich, the headquarters of UBS, tops the scale in terms of gross wages, but also enjoys relatively low tax rates.

Currency devaluations meant prices slipped the most in Mexico City, Moscow and Seoul over the past three years. Eastern European cities in the European Union are 35 percent cheaper to live in than Western European ones.

Railway workers at protest in BucharestWestern European workers make more than three times what Eastern European workers make in pay. Sofia, Bulgaria and Bucharest, Romania, which joined the European Union in early 2007, have wages comparable to Columbia and Thailand, the report notes.