UBS shines light on Athenians? purchasing power

The gap between the level of incomes and that of retail prices in Greece is considerable, as this year?s survey by UBS on purchasing power in 72 cities across the world confirms.

Although in Athens the level of the net daily wage is close to that in Johannesburg in South Africa and Bahrain?s Manama, food is more expensive than in Berlin and clothes are more expensive than in New York. The survey also reveals that 24 percent of salaries in Greece go toward taxes and social security contributions, while the equivalent average around the world is 20 percent.

As far as general price levels are concerned, as calculated by factoring in 122 categories of products and services, Athens ranks 39th among the 72 cities, with its price level (excluding rental rates) amounting to 66.1 percent of that in New York, which is used as a yardstick.

At the same time, the average net salary in Athens comes to no more than 40 percent of that in New York, with UBS making special reference to drastic salary cuts observed recently in Greece and Ireland. As a result, based on the level of prices and the net annual income, the purchasing power of Athenians amounts to just 52.1 percent of that of New Yorkers.

The net hourly wage in Athens stands at just 7.72 euros — the lowest among its counterparts in other crisis-hit European countries: It?s 8.18 euros in Lisbon, 11.16 euros in Madrid and 15.12 euros in Dublin.

The net annual income of a female worker in Athens stands at 9,323 euros (for a 40-hour working work), close to that in Hong Kong (9,781.50 euros for a 49-hour week), but far lower than that in Lisbon (11,462 euros for a 40-hour week).

In order to buy a McDonald?s Big Mac — used as a benchmark due to its wide availability — an Athenian has to work for 30 minutes, somewhat lower than people in Sofia (33 minutes), but twice as long as those in Frankfurt. Athenians have to work for 13 minutes to get a kilogram of bread, while Londoners need just seven minutes. A kilo of rice amounts to 26 minutes of work in Athens, while in Oslo — the most expensive city in the world — it comes to no more than 12 minutes.

The average monthly consumer cost based on the basket of 122 products and services stands at 1,990.69 euros in Athens against 2,175.62 euros in Berlin. The basic basket with 39 food products costs 298 euros in Athens, virtually the same as in the German capital (297 euros).

Clothing remains particularly expensive in Greece. The cost of an average complete outfit for women and men in Athens stands at 481 and 848 euros respectively, which is 12.5 percent more expensive than in New York.

Home electronics and household appliances set Athenians back 2,715 euros, which is 16.6 percent higher than for New Yorkers. Going out to a decent average restaurant in Athens is proved particularly costly, as it costs 41.27 euros (not including drinks), while in Rome it costs 27.51 euros and in London 38.97 euros.

On a more positive note, real estate prices are relatively low in Athens: Rental rates for a two-bedroom apartment average out at 496 euros per month, which, according to UBS, ranks among the cheapest in Europe and many other parts of the world, while the average price per square meter for property in the Greek capital stands at 1,841 euros.

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