Saturday, May 27, 2006

Big Mac Index

For those of you who still believe that Japan is the most expensive country to stay, have a look at this year's Big Max Index published by The Economist magazine this week.

McDonald's Big Mac costs 250 yen in Japan. Based on the market exchange rate, 250 yen is 2.23 US dollars, which is MUCH cheaper than the price of Big Mac in the United States (3.10 dollars), in Britain (3.65 dollars), and in EURO countries (3.77 dollars).

It was McDoland's, in my opinion, that triggerd the deflation in the late 1990s in Japan. The term "price destruction" became a buzz word after McDonald's began selling a burger (not Big Mac but the most basic one) for 80 yen (about 0.66 dollars) and other retailers followed the suit. (I know that in terms of macroeconomics, this explanation doesn't make sense. But that's what happened in reality.) The Economist rightly points this out:

since 1995, when the yen was overvalued by 100% according to the Big Mac index, the local price of Japanese burgers has dropped by one-third.

As far as eating out is concerned, you don't need to spend that much money in Japan. If you want to visit Japan but feel deterred by your wrong assumption that staying in Japan is very costly, just go there and experience a different world in the Far East.

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