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Tokyo remains world's most expensive city

GENEVA -- Tokyo and the twin cities of Osaka-Kobe in Japan remain the world's most expensive cities and Oslo, Zurich and Geneva are the costliest in Europe, a leading research group reported Monday.

The survey by Business International, which releases studies twice a year of living costs around the world based on a 'basket' of costs, is widely used by governments and companies to fix compensation of expatriate personnel.

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The figure for each city is based on the cost of food and alcoholic beverages, household supplies, personal care items, tobacco, utilities, clothing, domestic help, recreation and entertainment and transportation.

The report released Monday uses New York as a base of 100 and showed Tokyo as the world's most expensive city with an index of 221, followed by Osaka-Kobe in western Japan with 219 and Tehran, Iran with 192.

The African cities of Libreville in Gabon, Brazzaville in the Congo, and Lome, Togo, followed.

In Europe, Oslo, Norway, at 152 is listed as the most expensive city followed by two Swiss cities: Zurich at 143 and Geneva at 141. The Scandanavian cities of Helsinki and Copenhagen came in next at 140 and 137 respectively.

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The cheapest of the cities surveyed was Caracas, which registered 38 against New York's 100.

The survey said the fall in the value of the dollar against European countries made cities in Europe more expensive for expatriates paid in the U.S. currency. Conversely, most American cities dropped in ranking because of the cheaper dollar.

In the United States, only Los Angeles at 103 and Washington D.C. at 102 were listed as being more expensive than New York. Chicago and San Francisco ranked alongside New York.

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