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Survey shows Tokyo world's most expensive city

GENEVA -- Tokyo is the world's most expensive city to live in for business executives paid in dollars and the Paraguayan capital of Asuncion is the least expensive, a survey issued Thursday showed.

According to the survey, Chicago, San Francisco and Los Angeles are more expensive to live in than New York.

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The statistics were compiled by Business International, a Geneva-based consulting agency that advises governments, banks and multinational corporations. The survey examines the cost of living for business executives paid in U.S. dollars in 99 major cities as compared to New York.

The ratings were based on a weighted index covering a 'shopping basket' of food, wine and liquor, household supplies, personal-care items, tobacco, utilities, clothing, domestic help, entertainment and transportation -- but not housing.

According to the survey, Tokyo is the most expensive city in the world to live in, overtaking Lagos, Nigeria, which topped the last survey. The survey said Tokyo is 55 percent more expensive to live in than New York because of the fall of the dollar against the yen.

Tehran took second place, with living costs 43 percent higher than New York,because foreign executives 'do not have regular access to ration coupons which take the sting out of high market prices,' it said.

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Lagos dropped to third place because of Nigeria's weakened currency, the survey said, 'but is still 40 percent more expensive than New York due to import controls and scarcities leading to exhorbitant black market prices.'

New York was put at the 14th most expensive worldwide. The 13 cities rated as more expensive than New York were: Tokyo, Tehran, Lagos, Libreville, Brazzaville, Dakar, Douala, Oslo, Chicago, San Francisco, Helsinki, Taipei, and Los Angeles.

Equal to New York were Geneva, Zurich, Washington and Boston.

Among cheaper European cities were Copenhagen and Vienna, ranked 22nd; Dublin and Paris, ranked 27th; Stockholm, ranked 33rd; Rome, ranked 41st, and London, ranked 44th.

On the other end of the scale, the survey said the Paraguayan capital of Asuncion was the least expensive city, followed by Caracas, Venezuela and Belgrade, Yugoslavia.

For those fearful of crime, Jakarta, Indonesia, ranks as the safest city. Hypochondriacs might prefer Brussels, Belgium, where there is a doctor for every 139 residents.

The Book of World City Rankings, a 600-page guide released Wednesday, said looking at non-cost factors, New York is the world's greatest city -- at least for some people.

According to the book, New York has the best airline service of any city, the highest pay for electrical engineers, and is the world's most important corporate headquarters.

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