Top 10 most expensive movie tickets

Posted By on 30/07/2012

Excited to see The Dark Knight Rises? Are you so excited that you’d pay $21.50 to see it—and not even in IMAX? If not, you might want to wait until after you finish your Japanese vacation.

In Tokyo, two tickets to that or any other movie will cost you the equivalent of $43, making Tokyo’s movie tickets the most expensive in the world. And though a number of other cities also have very expensive tickets, the Japanese capital’s are head and shoulders above the rest.

The full list of the top 10 most expensive movie tickets is full of Swiss and Australian cities:

  1. Tokyo, Japan: $43 for two tickets
  2. Zurich, Switzerland: $37
  3. Geneva, Switzerland: $37
  4. Perth, Australia: $35
  5. Sydney, Australia: $35
  6. Adelaide, Australia: $35
  7. Melbourne, Australia: $35
  8. Oslo, Norway: $33
  9. London, United Kingdom: $31
  10. Brisbane, Australia: $31

As the list shows, five of the ten top cities are in Australia, and four more are in Europe. Watching movies in Hollywood’s home country is a bargain compared to doing the same in Europe or Australia: In 18 American cities, you can buy two tickets for between $18 and $22.

Indeed, there is very little difference in the price of movie tickets between cities within the same countries. For example, tickets in any of Canada’s three main cities (Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver) cost between $23 and $26 for two people. In New Zealand’s two main cities (Wellington and Auckland) the price difference is $1, from $26 to $27. Madrid and Barcelona’s prices are nearly identical ($19 and $18.85, respectively), as are Athens’ and Thessaloniki’s (both $21).

So if you’re a movie buff living in Tokyo or anywhere in Switzerland or Australia, you might want to invest in a high-definition TV and look into renting movies. It’ll probably be cheaper than going to the theater often—especially since your $43 won’t even get you popcorn.


Taxis in New York City are not that expensive, even after the recent 17% fare increase

Posted By on 25/07/2012

On July 12 the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission approved a 17-percent fare increase for all taxis in the city. The Expatistan Cost of Living Index showed the price on that day of a 5-mile (8-kilometer) taxi ride in New York to be $16.13, so the increase will bring that price up to about $18.87.

What does that mean for expats in New York? Maybe not very much.

New York has a world-famous subway system that is one of the largest and most-used in the world. New Yorkers of all kinds, and many of the 50 million tourists who visit New York each year, ride it to get all over the city. Many New York residents already travel exclusively by subway, and a fare increase may encourage some who currently take taxis to ride the subway more. (With a monthly subway pass costing $104, it’s a good investment for anyone who would otherwise take even just a few cab rides a month.)

Additionally, many expats in New York come with jobs, often high-paying positions in finance or other global services. These jobs often cover transportation costs to and from work, so an increase in taxi prices might affect these expats’ companies as much as their personal budgets.

That said, any expat traveling through the city on a weekend has to pay for that herself, and few companies will subsidize their employees’ trips home from the theater. New York cabs carry tens of thousands of people a day, many of them expats in the city, and so the fare increase will add up to a significant cost to those who regularly take cabs.

And yet, New York’s cabs are one of the few things in the city that are not very expensive compared to prices in other cities. The new average taxi fare of about $19 will still be cheaper than taxis in many other cities. While New York taxis will become more expensive than those in São Paulo ($16.46) and San Diego ($17.26), they will still be much cheaper than taxis in some American cities, like Minneapolis ($29.87) and Milwaukee ($32.89), and still only about half the price of taxis in cities like Tokyo ($36) and Geneva ($42).

With New York’s real costs to expats being its astronomical rents ($3,520 a month for an 85-square-meter/900-square-foot apartment, according to the Cost of Living Index) and pricey entertainment options, expats living in New York may respond to $20 cab rides not by taking the subway more, but by skipping the theater once a month. After all, you can take a lot of $19 cab ri

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Cost of life index for expats, July 2012

Posted By on 23/07/2012

Latin America rising

Expats: If you’re living in an expensive city in North America, Europe, or Asia, don’t think about moving to Latin America because you think things are cheaper there. If you’ve really got the itch to move, you may find Eastern Europe a good deal, but pretty much everywhere else will cost you.

The Expatistan Cost of Living Index shows that, from January to June, costs of living in the most cities stayed nearly identical relative to each other, while some other cities became much cheaper or more expensive. Tokyo is still by far the most expensive city in the world, followed by cities in Europe, Australia, and East Asia.

The most expensive cities in the world kept the same order with few exception: Oslo and Zurich swapped spots in No. 2 and No. 3, and Singapore jumped from No. 9 to No. 7. Slightly lower down, there were a few more changes. Two Australian cities, Brisbane and Adelaide, largely switched positions, with Brisbane going from No. 17 to No. 12 and Adelaide dropping from No. 13 to No. 22. Boston also fell several spots, and Stockholm climbed to take its place.

Most impressively to me, many of the cities’ index values almost didn’t change. For example, six months ago, Tokyo, which was and remains at No. 1, had an index value of 292. Now it’s at 291. That means, that six months ago, life in Tokyo was 2.92 times as expensive as life in Prague (the index’s base city, with a permanent score of 100), and now it’s 2.91 times as expensive, almost the same. Some cities rose by as much as 10 index points (10 percent more than the cost of living in Prague), but most cities near the top of the index didn’t change by more than about 5 points.

One noticeable change in the index is that several cities that had been below Prague, at the 100 score, are now above it. Ankara rose from 97 to 106 on the index, Lima from 96 to 102, Buenos Aires from 94 to 103, Monterrey from 91 to 104, Córdoba from 91 to 101, and Caracas from 85 to 101. This could, of course, be a result of Prague becoming cheaper—except that Prague didn’t become cheaper in comparison to cities at the top of the list (like Tokyo), or other Eastern European cities, like Warsaw, Budapest, Kraków, Bucharest, Sofia, or Belgrade, all of which have stayed below Prague. More likely to explain the jump in Lima, Buenos Aires, Monterrey, Córdoba, and Caracas is region-wide economic improvement across Latin America that is driving the cost of livin

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Expatistan has a new sponsor, Barclays Wealth and Investment Management

Posted By Gerardo ( on 22/07/2012

Expatistan is very pleased to announce that we have agreed to a sponsorship deal with Barclays Wealth and Investment Management. We hope and expect the partnership will be a great one both for the site and for expats around the world who can benefit from Barclays’ services.

Barclays is a British-based multinational bank and financial services provider. It offers personal banking, credit cards, corporate and investment banking and wealth and investment management. We at Expatistan think Barclays is a great bank for our expat contributors, since it has a strong presence in Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Americas, offices in over 20 countries, and clients in nearly 200 countries and territories around the world.

Barclays Wealth and Investment Management is also the largest global wealth manager in the United Kingdom, and one of the largest in the world, with total client assets of £164 billion ($255 billion) as of the end of 2011. It focuses on private and intermediary clients, providing international and private banking, investment management, fiduciary services and brokerage to clients worldwide.

Barclays Wealth and Investment Management is expat-friendly, and it makes sense for us to be sponsored by a global bank offering services to expats. Barclays’ services align well with expats’ needs, so we’re pleased to receive the company’s support, and we hope it can help you, our readers and contributors.


“ARD”: The Argentine dollar

Posted By on 15/07/2012

Last month we wrote about Argentina’s inflation charade. Now there’s another layer to the story.

Earlier this month, Argentine President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner announced she would change her personal savings from dollars to pesos, and she urged other government officials to do the same. The suggestion is to lead by example and get other Argentines to start “thinking in pesos.”

But why does the government want people to want pesos more?

The idea is “de-dollarization,” whether official or unofficial. Today, dollars play an important role in the Argentine economy. Many people hold them as savings, since they are seen as stable assets. The dollar is also the main currency of real estate in the country, as well as the currency in which a significant portion of the national debt is denominated. As a result, the dollar is very valuable to individuals, companies, and the government.

And with the peso losing value so quickly, no one can get enough dollars fast enough.

For now, de-dollarization is mostly just the subject of a public relations campaign by Fernández’s government. But two weeks ago the government presented a bill that would require debt and new contracts to be denominated in pesos. And many fear that the dollars they have might be seized from them before too long.

The steps toward de-dollarization and the fears that the government may forcibly de-dollarize further are results of two sides of the country’s currency crisis that are now coming into direct conflict.

On one side is the government, which must pay back dollar-denominated debt and which sees dollars rapidly exiting bank accounts and the country. The government is keenly aware that it needs to keep dollars in the country—and within its reach. The central bank, which has seen its reserves diminished by a growing budget deficit, is trying to get as many dollars as it can in order to keep making debt payments on time.

On the other side are the people, who want little to do with the peso. Argentina’s currency has a volatile history, and its most recent shock came just a decade ago, when the country’s budget crisis led to debt default and, soon after, rapid and steep currency devaluation.

The people, aware of Argentina’s unofficially soaring inflation, are also doing all they can to get dollars. With the peso buying less each day, and with the euro unstable and in question, more and more Argentines are seeking the safe haven of dollars. But at the

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