• Kyodo

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Hamburger lovers in Nairobi must work three hours to purchase a Big Mac, compared with 10 minutes for their Tokyo counterparts, according to a survey released Tuesday by Swiss banking group UBS.

According to the survey, which covered 70 cities around the world, an average worker in Nairobi must work 185 minutes before he or she can afford a Big Mac, the longest among the cities surveyed.

But workers in Tokyo, Chicago, Los Angeles and Miami need only work 10 minutes, the shortest period among those surveyed. Workers in New York must work for 12 minutes, those in Hong Kong for 13 minutes and those in Toronto, Montreal and Zurich for 14 minutes.

According to the survey — titled “Prices and Earnings” and conducted in the first quarter of 2003 — Oslo has replaced Tokyo as the world’s most expensive city since the last UBS survey was conducted in 2000.

This can be attributed to the depreciation of the yen and the appreciation of the Norwegian krone, with deflation in Japan also playing a part, it said.

In terms of the cost of living, Oslo measures 117.8 against the base of 100 for Zurich, which ranks fifth. In second place is Hong Kong with 108.1, followed by Tokyo with 106.7 and New York with 104.5. Purchasing power, calculated on the basis of annual income and living costs, is highest in Zurich, followed by Basel and Geneva.