February 15th, 2012
05:46 AM GMT
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Zurich has overtaken Tokyo to rank as the world’s most expensive city for the first time in 20 years, according to the  Economist Intelligence Unit's latest Worldwide Cost of Living Survey.  The Swiss city was joined in the top five by Geneva, which rose to third place to tie with Osaka.

Whilst Switzerland has long been home to some of the priciest places to live, its upswing in the rankings can be attributed to the heavy investment in the Swiss franc, which is seen as a relatively safe currency outside of the embattled Eurozone, according to the report. Local price inflation in Switzerland has been low, but the report explained that "local inflation in mature markets always has far less influence on the relative cost of living than the currency movements of the countries in question."

Cities in the Asia-Pacific make up half of the top ten—in addition to Tokyo and Osaka, Sydney and Melbourne placed seventh and eighth, respectively, followed by Singapore. Seoul climbed 13 places over the last year to 27th place, and Chinese cities are also increasingly expensive, with Shanghai surpassing New York by two places to rank 42nd.

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February 15th, 2012
02:32 AM GMT
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London (CNN) – It is official. The Greek economy has gone into meltdown.

The numbers released Tuesday show that during 2011 the economy contracted by 7%. Barclays estimates that much of that loss came in the last three months – when the economy dropped a whopping 5.1%.

A look at the IMF's World Economic Outlook puts it into context. In the darkest days of the recession no other developed country came close to suffering such a large loss (U.S. -2.4%; UK -4.9%; Eurozone -4.1).

It is now clear Greece's economy has fallen off a cliff. It has endured five years of grueling recession and every prospect of much more to come, as even the Greek prime minister warned that things would be tough for years to come.

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