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Moscow is now priciest city

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Associated Press / June 26, 2006

NEW YORK -- Moscow has eclipsed Tokyo as the world's most expensive city, a survey says. The Russian capital moved up three spots from a year ago, thanks to a property boom, while the Japanese capital slipped to third place due to the weaker yen. South Korea's Seoul ranked second, up from fifth last year.

The survey by Mercer Human Resource Consulting ranked 144 cities. It's designed to help multinational employers determine compensation for workers.

Overall, foreign exchange rate fluctuations were behind the majority of the changes in ranking, but in Moscow's case, costs were buoyed by the surging price for large living accommodations. Prices for big houses rose some 50 percent over the past year. After Moscow, Europe's priciest cities were London, ranked number five overall, and Geneva, ranked number seven.

New York -- ranked number 10, up three spots from last year -- remains North America's costliest city, followed by Los Angeles and San Francisco. [Boston was not on the top-50 list released by Mercer.]

Chinese cities -- including Hong Kong at number four, Beijing at number 14, and Shanghai at number 20 -- climbed due to the yuan's strength after being de-pegged from the U S dollar.

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