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UBS's Prices & Earnings report compares the cost of living in 77 cities worldwide; finds Zurich is world's most expensive city, while salaries go furthest in Los Angeles

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  • Zurich retains its position as the most expensive city, followed by Geneva and Oslo.
  • Los Angeles boasts the world’s best buying power for the average worker’s salary, with LA residents now able to afford almost a quarter more (23.9%) than New Yorkers.
  • Now in its 17th edition, this year's report is presented in an interactive, digital format that allows users to compare cities and explore their development over time. Readers can explore city specific stories and dive into the data to come to their own conclusions.
  • Visit the microsite to find out what millennial must-haves cost around the world, or how long you have to work to afford an iPhone X in different cities.

Zurich, 29 May 2018 – UBS Global Wealth Management’s Chief Investment Office (CIO) today publishes new research on how prices and earnings of 77 international cities fare against each other. The study, first launched in 1971 and now in its 17th edition, compares 128 prices of various goods and services as well as average earnings of 15 professions representing the average working population. Consisting of more than 75,000 data points, the results are for the first time presented interactively on a microsite which allows visitors to compare cities and explore their development over time.

Mark Haefele, Chief Investment Officer at UBS Global Wealth Management, says: "Purchasing power matters to all of us as individuals and as investors. Whether you are planning your next vacation or trying to understand long term shifts in economic power, our study provides a detailed analysis of prices around the world."

According to the study’s Purchasing Power Index, residents of European and North American cities typically enjoy the best buying power overall, with Bahrain’s capital Manama and Hong Kong the only non-transatlantic contenders in the Top Ten. Global financial capitals New York and London rank 10th and 23rd respectively.

Daniel Kalt, Chief Economist and Chief Investment Officer for Switzerland, UBS Global Wealth Management, and lead editor of the study, adds: "As in our previous edition, Zurich tops the list as the world’s most expensive city, closely followed by Swiss rival Geneva. However, our Purchasing Power Index clearly indicates that we are beginning to see stronger competition from overseas with only three European cities left in our Top Ten, all of which lost ground compared to the report’s 2015 edition."

By isolating just one of the 128 prices analyzed, global purchasing power differences become clearly visible. For example, a standard haircut for women costs USD 94.32 in Zurich (Switzerland), compared to USD 22.60 in Kiev (Ukraine), USD 12.17 in Mexico City and USD 7.50 in Cairo (Egypt). However, while a woman in Zurich typically only has to work 3.05 hours to afford this service, the same expenditure requires 12.09 hours of work in Kiev, 5.86 hours in Mexico City and 6.11 hours in Cairo.

Please visit the Prices & Earnings microsite for an overview of all results: www.ubs.com/pricesandearnings

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