Archive for the ‘Economist’ Category

Hot spots: Benchmarking global city competitiveness

April 2, 2012 Comments off

Hot spots: Benchmarking global city competitiveness (PDF)
Source: Economist Intelligence Unit (via Citibank)
From press release:

With more than half of the world’s population now living in urban areas, cities are more important than ever to the world’s societal and economic development. For most countries, economic success today hinges on the performance of their cities, as they together generate 80% of the world’s GDP; for most global businesses and therefore our clients, expansion strategies are increasingly shifting from a country perspective to a city perspective. And as mass urbanization continues across the world, particularly in growth economies, cities will wield greater and greater influence in the coming years.

This rapid rise of the city brings many new questions for our stakeholders, such as:

  • Where will the most competitive cities and new economic powerhouses emerge?
  • How will cities in the developing world differ from those in the developed world?
  • What changes in infrastructure will be needed to accommodate millions of new citizens?
  • How can businesses scale quickly to serve such immense populations?

To answer some of these questions, Citi commissioned the Economist’s sister organization, the Economist Intelligence Unit, to research and compile a comprehensive report that ranks the competitiveness of 120 of the world’s top cities.

The report, entitled Hot Spots, examines the many dimensions of cities as drivers of growth. It considers how newly emerging cities compete with more developed cities, reviews where the global centers of growth are likely to be found in coming years, and explores the link between talent and competitiveness. The report was released today in New York City with remarks by Citi CEO Vikram Pandit and NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg. New York City was voted the number 1 Hot Spot.

Worldwide Cost of Living 2012: Which city is the most expensive to live in? Which city is the cheapest?

March 14, 2012 Comments off

Worldwide Cost of Living 2012: Which city is the most expensive to live in? Which city is the cheapest?Source: Economist Intelligence Unit

For the first time in at least two decades of reporting the worldwide cost of living survey Zurich sits atop the ranking as the world’s most expensive city. An index swing of 34 percentage points pushed the Swiss city up 4 places compared to last year to overtake Tokyo which remains in 2nd place. Geneva, the other Swiss city surveyed saw a 30 percentage point rise in the cost of living to move up six places into joint third alongside Osaka. When you download this free WorldWide Cost of Living summary, you will discover which cities are currently considered the most expensive in which to live, and which are the cheapest.

The Economist Intelligence Unit’s Worldwide Cost of Living survey is a full service that enables human resources line managers and expatriate executives to compare the cost of living in 140 cities in 93 countries and calculate fair compensation policies for relocating employees.

Free registration required to download full document.

The Big Mac index: Currency comparisons, to go

August 1, 2011 Comments off

The Big Mac index: Currency comparisons, to go
Source: Economist

The Economist’s Big Mac index is a fun guide to whether currencies are at their “correct” level. It is based on the theory of purchasing-power parity (PPP), the notion that in the long run exchange rates should move towards the rate that would equalise the prices of a basket of goods and services around the world. At market exchange rates, a burger is 44% cheaper in China than in America. In other words, the raw Big Mac index suggests that the yuan is 44% undervalued against the dollar. But we have long warned that cheap burgers in China do not prove that the yuan is massively undervalued. Average prices should be lower in poor countries than in rich ones because labour costs are lower. The chart above shows a strong positive relationship between the dollar price of a Big Mac and GDP per person.

PPP signals where exchange rates should move in the long run. To estimate the current fair value of a currency we use the “line of best fit” between Big Mac prices and GDP per person. The difference between the price predicted for each country, given its average income, and its actual price offers a better guide to currency under- and overvaluation than the “raw” index. The beefed-up index suggests that the Brazilian real is the most overvalued currency in the world; the euro is also significantly overvalued. But the yuan now appears to be close to its fair value against the dollar—something for American politicians to chew over.


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