The sharply declining value of the US dollar against the euro and the record high levels reached by the common European currency has made the European cities the most expensive in the world for visitors, the results of the Prices and Earnings survey, conducted by UBS, show.
Oslo, London and Copenhagen are still the three most expensive cities in the world, according to the same survey. Dublin is climbing up the ranking boldly challenging the top of the list. Ireland's capital has jumped from the number 13 spot, occupied in 2005, to the number four spot at present, overtaking Zurich.
The sharply declining relative value of the US dollar has pushed US cities down in UBS' global price rankings, and a shopping trip to the USA is now an attractive proposition for Europeans.
The dollar has lost nearly 18% of its value against the euro in the last twelve months, which makes New York City a much more affordable place for European shoppers. London is now 26% more expensive than New York City. The depreciation of the U.S. dollar is having a positive effect on some Asian destinations linked to the U.S. currency.
Barcelona and Hong Kong were similarly costly in 2006, while at present the Catalonian port city is 22% more expensive than the Chinese one at present.
Sofia was also included in the ranking. The appreciation of the euro, which is directly linked to Bulgaria's national currency, makes the capital of the country relatively more expensive compared to the last year. Sofia occupies the number 54 spot among the 71 cities included in the ranking, trailing one spot behind Bogota. Bucharest, the capital of Romania, ranks 56th.
Caracas jumped nearly 10 spots up in the ranking and is already nearly as expensive as Singapore.
With inflation factors taken into consideration, Sofia ranks 61st in terms of wages, according to the same survey. The net wage level in Sofia stands at only 13.4% of that of the wages in New York City.
Sofia ranks 63rd in terms of purchasing power, the same survey shows. The purchasing power of Sofianites stands at 25.4% of that of New Yorkers. Bucharest once again overtakes Sofia with 29.6% purchasing power.
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* UBS data