Same story, what-in-the…! headlines

March 28, 2005
Singapore Democrats

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From time to time, the Singapore Democrats like to test our readers’ power of discernment. Below are two reports with very different headlines
on the same story. One is by UPI and the other is by our very very own Channel News Asia. Can you guess which is which?

Singapore costlier than New York
24 March 2005

Singapore remains among the world’s 20 most expensive cities to live in, pricier than New York, according to a new survey by the Economist Intelligence Unit.

In this bi-annual worldwide cost-of-living survey, Singapore fell two notches, but Hong Kong fell even more from 7th last year to 12th.

Tokyo and Osaka, followed by Oslo, Paris, Copenhagen and Zurich — where living costs are between 23 and 41 percent higher than in New York — lead the pack, Business Times reported Thursday.

The EIU survey, which uses New York cost levels as a base index of 100 for comparison, is generally used as a guide for executive allowances.

As the dollar has continued to weaken, there is now no U.S. city in the top 20 list. New York — 13th last year and still the most expensive American city — is now down to 23rd, cheaper than Manchester and Dublin, EIU notes.

Singapore’s living cost falls, Japanese cities remain the world’s most expensive: EIU survey
28 March 2005

Costs of living in Singapore have dropped while the Japanese cities of Tokyo, Osaka and Kobe have preserved their status as the world’s most expensive cities to live in, a survey shows.

A bi-annual Economist Intelligence Unit survey of more than 130 cities says Singapore is now at the 19th position, down from 17th in cost of living over the past year.

Manila and Bombay are among the cheapest.

London saw the biggest rise in cost of living over the past year while the falling US dollar made American cities cheaper.

New York, assigned an index reading of 100 and ranked the 23rd most expensive city in the world, down from 13th a year ago, served as the basis of comparison.

Tokyo’s stood at a whopping 141 and the Osaka-Kobe zone’s was 136.

London, in seventh place, was on 121.

At the bottom of the list, New Delhi and Karachi were jointly ranked 120th with just 45 on the index, Bombay was ranked 122nd on 44 and Manila was 123rd on 38, just above the cheapest city, Tehran at 32.

Other Asia-Pacific cities in the top 25 were Hong Kong at 12th place, down from seventh a year ago and Seoul, in 25th place, down from 19th in the previous survey.

A basket of goods and services was used to calculate individual indices, with currency strength playing a key role because local prices are converted into US dollars.

“The position of Tokyo and Osaka as the world’s most expensive cities disguises a much more varied picture in the Asian region,” the EIU said in a press statement.

“Australia and New Zealand have seen sharp rises in relative cost of living thanks to currency strength – Wellington and Auckland rose the highest number of places,” it added.

The two New Zealand cities were tied at 39th place on an index reading of 91.

Traditionally expensive destinations like Hong Kong have seen a fall in the relative cost of living thanks to low inflation and the pegging of the currency to the US dollar, while European cities closed the gap with Tokyo and Osaka.

Other key Asian cities had widely varied rankings.

Beijing and Taipei were tied for 44th place with an index reading of 87, while Shanghai was ranked 46th – along with Miami, Florida – on 86.

Jakarta was in 86th place with an index of 68, Ho Chi Minh City at 90th on 66, Hanoi and Kuala Lumpur were tied at 98th on 62, and Bangkok was in 102nd place with 60.