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World's 10 costliest cities

Last updated on: August 11, 2010 10:00 IST

World's 10 costliest cities

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A recently published Cost of Living Survey by global consultant Mercer is full of surprises. If you thought that the list is headed by some American, European or even an Asian nation, you are badly mistaken.

But, first, let's discuss how the survey was conducted.

The index is based on cost of living expressed in US dollars. Therefore, if the dollar weakens against the local currency of a city, the city becomes more expensive and moves up the index, even if prices expressed in local currency remain the same or even go down.

In Mercer's 2010 survey, New York is used as the base city for the index and scores 100 points, all cities are compared against New York and currency movements are measured against the US dollar.

As per the list New York is the 27th most expensive city, followed by Los Angeles (55). Washington ranks 111.

Among the Indian cities, New Delhi (85) is India's most expensive city followed by Mumbai (89) and Bangalore (190).

While both London and Paris are pegged at rank 17, Dubai is ranked 55.

So, which is the world's most expensive city? Click on NEXT to find out . . .


Image: The Bahai Temple, Delhi.

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1. Luanda

Luanda is the capital and the largest city of Angola.

It has an excellent natural harbour; the chief exports are coffee, cotton, sugar, diamonds, iron, and salt.

The city also has a thriving building industry, an effect of the nationwide economic boom experienced since 2002, when political stability returned with the end of the civil war.

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Image: Luanda's main Street the 'Marginal'

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2. Tokyo

Tokyo was originally a small fishing village named Edo.

It is one of the three world finance "command centers", along with New York City and London.

Tokyo was rated by the Economist Intelligence Unit as the most expensive (highest cost-of-living) city in the world for 14 years in a row ending in 2006.

The Tokyo Stock Exchange is Japan's largest stock exchange, and second largest in the world by market capitalisation.

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Image: Eitai Bridge, Tokyo.

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3. N'Djamena

The largest city in Chad, N'Djamena is a port city on the Chari River, near the confluence with the Logone River.

It is a regional market for livestock, salt, dates, and grains.

Meat, fish and cotton processing are the chief industries, and the city continues to serve as the centre of economic activity in Chad.

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Image: Market place in Ndjamena.
Photographs: Courtesy GLOBOsapien.net
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4. Moscow

The city is named after the river Moskva.

Moscow is one of largest city economies in Europe and it comprises approximately 20% of Russian GDP.

In 2006, Mercer Human Resources Consulting named Moscow as the world's most expensive city for expatriate employees, ahead of Tokyo.

The Cherkizovskiy marketplace is the largest marketplace in Europe with daily turnover of about $30 million and about ten thousand sellers from different countries (including China, Turkey, Azerbaijan and India).

Primary industries in Moscow include chemical, metallurgy, food, textile, furniture, energy production, software development and machinery.

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Image: Fireworks at Red Square, Moscow.

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5. Geneva

Geneva's economy is mainly services oriented. The city has a finance sector, which specialises in private banking and financing of international trade. It is also an important centre of commodity trade.

Watchmakers, Baume et Mercier, Charriol, Chopard, Franck Muller, Patek Philippe, Gallet, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Rolex, Raymond Weil, Omega, Vacheron Constantin, and international producers of flavours and fragrances, Firmenich and Givaudan, have their headquarters in Geneva.

The Geneva Motor Show is one of the most important international auto-shows. The show is held at Palexpo, a giant convention centre located next to the International Airport.

It is the second-most-populous city in Switzerland.

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Image: The Geneva cityscape.

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6. Osaka

Osaka literally means 'large hill' or 'large slope'.

Historically, Osaka was the center of commerce in Japan.

However, many major companies have now moved their main offices to Tokyo. Panasonic, Sharp, Sanyo, video game maker Capcom are still headquartered in Osaka.

The Osaka Securities Exchange specialises in derivatives such as Nikkei 225 futures.

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Image: Osaka during the Summer Sonic Festival.

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7. Libreville

The city is a port on the Komo River, near the Gulf of Guinea. It is the capital and the largest city of Gabon.

Libreville is home to shipbuilding and brewing industries, and sawmills. The city exports raw materials such as wood, rubber and cocoa.

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Image: One of the banks in the diplomatic neighbourhood of Libreville.

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8. Zurich

Zurich is not only the largest city in Switzerland is also a leading financial centre.

The most important sector in the economy of Zurich is the service industry, which employs nearly four fifths of workers.

Other important industries include light industry, machine and textile industries and tourism. Most Swiss banks have their headquarters in Zurich.

The Swiss Stock Exchange, established in 1877, is one of the most important stock exchanges in the world.

Zurich is also the world's largest gold trading centre.

Ten of the Switzerland's 50 largest companies have their head offices in Zurich.

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Image: The Landesmuseum (Swiss National Museum), Zurich.

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9. Hong Kong

Hong Kong was once described as the world's greatest experiment in laissez faire.

It still maintains a highly developed capitalist economy, ranked the freest in the world by the Index of Economic Freedom for 15 consecutive years.

Hong Kong's currency is the Hong Kong dollar, which has been pegged to the US dollar since 1983.

It imports most of its food and raw materials.

Much of its exports consist of re-exports, which are products made outside of the territory, especially in mainland China, and distributed via Hong Kong.

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Image: The Hong Kong skyline.

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10. Copenhagen

Copenhagen is the economic and financial centre of the Scandinavian-Baltic region.

Besides the services industry, life science and research & development plays a major role in the economy of the city.

Major Danish biotech companies like Novo Nordisk and Lundbeck are located in Copenhagen.

Copenhagen has some of the highest gross wages in the world.


Image: The fairy tale figure of 'The Little Mermaid' in Copenhagen harbour.

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