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Europe Tops the World in Being 'Most Expensive Region' - 2003-07-28

Europe ranks as the most expensive region in the world in the latest survey by a prestigious London research group, the Economist Intelligence Unit.

Seven of the world's 10 most expensive cities are in Europe, according to the report released Monday.

The Economist Intelligence Unit ranks Oslo as the third most expensive city in the world. Other European cities in the top 10 include Zurich, Copenhagen, Geneva, Paris, Reykjavik and London.

Tokyo and Osaka remain on top of the list, as they have for a decade. Hong Kong ranked fifth.

The editor of the report, Bill Ridgers, said strong European currencies, led by the euro, account for the continent's high cost of living. "We've seen an increase in the relative cost of living in the euro-zone countries as the euro has appreciated against the U.S. dollar, the prices have become relatively more expensive. And the flip side to that is that we've seen U.S. cities actually slipping down in the list because they are becoming relatively cheaper as the dollar becomes slightly weaker," Mr. Ridgers said.

New York City has dropped out of the top 10, and now ranks as the 13th costliest city. Latin American cities also have slipped down the ranks amid persistent economic turmoil in the region. Mexico City is in 56th place and Sao Paulo is 120th, just fourth from the bottom of the list.

Tehran remains the world's cheapest city, with a cost of living less than one-quarter that of Tokyo.

The Economist team checks prices of a wide range of items, from bread and milk to cars and utilities, to compile the semi-annual cost of living report.

Business clients use the service to calculate the amount of allowances granted to overseas executives and their families.