How long do you have to work to buy an iPhone?

by Jojo Malig,

Posted at Sep 19 2012 03:45 AM | Updated as of Sep 19 2012 10:57 PM

MANILA, Philippines - How long do people in Manila have to work before they can buy either an iPhone or a Big Mac?

A rather long time, according to a new study released by Swiss bank UBS.

The good news? Manila is the 4th cheapest city to live in among 72 cities globally, UBS' latest edition of the "Prices and Earnings" study said.

With New York City prices as standard (100), the cost of living in Manila only measured to 41.5, according to the study.

The bank's annual survey showed that prices for a standardized basket of 122 goods and services is most expensive in Oslo, Norway and cheapest in Delhi, India.

While the cost of living is low in Manila, the Philippine capital city also has the 3rd lowest wage levels worldwide and the 2nd-lowest domestic purchasing power.

"The highest gross wages are earned by workers in Zurich, Geneva and Copenhagen," the study said. "Salaries go farthest in Zurich, where the net hourly wage buys the most goods and services from our standardized basket in international comparison."

"Workers in Zurich can buy an iPhone after 22 hours of work; in Manila, by contrast, it takes around 20 times longer," it added.

People in Manila also need to work for an average of 73 minutes before they can buy a Big Mac, compared to just 9 minutes in Tokyo and 10 minutes in Hong Kong.

The shortest working hours and highest number of days of paid vacation are enjoyed by workers in Western Europe, specifically in the cities  of Paris, Lyon, and Copenhagen.

In comparison, people work the most in Asia, Africa, the Middle East and South America, at over 2,000 hours per year, according to UBS.

"Nowhere is the discrepancy between prices and wages within an individual region larger than in Asia. For example, food costs five times as much in Tokyo than it does in Mumbai, while wages in Tokyo are twelve times higher than in Delhi," the study said.

"There is no Asian city at the top of the domestic purchasing power rankings when measured in terms of net hourly wages," it added.

Prices of goods and services are lowest and wages -- compared with the global average -- are highest in North America.

"Even though prices in the US are higher than the global average, prices for electronic and household goods are very attractive in North American cities, with Miami and Los Angeles boasting the best deals in international comparison," the study said.