Friday, November 23, 2007

Exchange rate via Economist cover price

Last week I wrote about the Economist Big Mac Index which I hope didn’t bore anyone with its coverage of economics. Because, today, I want to use the cover price of the Economist itself to show the disparity in prices and exchange rates. Here is what it costs to buy a copy of the Economist in a sampling of countries and the US dollar equivalent at official exchange rates.
China: RMB 75 – US$10
Hong Kong: HK$60 – US$8
Taiwan: NT$230 – US$7
Japan: ¥1,150 – US$10
Korea: Won 8,500 – US$9
Singapore: S$12 – US$8
Malaysia: RM18 – US$6
Vietnam, Tonga, Fiji, & Mongolia: US$6

I can understand why Japan is expensive. Everything in Japan is expensive, and I’m sure the extra cost is to give Japan’s backward retail sector enough margin to sell a copy at a profit. But China? Why is it 66% more expensive for the Economist in China compared to Mongolia? Perhaps I could make money importing black market copies over the border from Mongolia into Inner Mongolia, China.

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