Auckland, Wellington two of most world's expensive cities

An international index rates Auckland and Wellington, New Zealand, in the top 20 most expensive places to live in the world.

In a worldwide cost of living survey for 2011 by the Economist intelligence unit, Wellington moved up 16 places to rank the 17th most expensive place to live, on a par with London.

Auckland is now ranked 15th. It was ranked 24th in 2010.

Unit editor Jon Copestake says the cost of living in Auckland and Wellington has doubled in the past decade, driven primarily by the high exchange rate but also by rising inflation.

He says the New Zealand and Australian dollars have also become favoured currencies, attracting a lot of investment, and that also pushed the cities up the rankings.

The survey compares the prices of 160 products and services such as food, drink, clothing, rent, transport and utility bills.

Zurich in Switzerland knocked Tokyo off the top spot as the most expensive city. Karachi in Pakistan is the cheapest.

Sydney, Australia, was ranked number seven, Melbourne number eight, Perth 13th, Brisbane is 14th and Adelaide 18th.

Next story in World: Abu Qatada bailed under strict conditions