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By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter

SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – According to a survey conducted by British weekly, The Economist, Brazil has the fourth most expensive Big Mac in the world. The latest Big Mac Index, released on January 22nd, shows that the ever-popular sandwich can be bought at McDonald’s restaurants all around the country for US$5.21 (or R$13.50), whereas in the U.S. the burger sells for an average of US$4.79.

The Big Mac Index, created by the newsweekly, The Economist, compares the price of the sandwich in more than 120 countries, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil News
The Big Mac Index created by The Economist, compares the price of the sandwich in more than 120 countries, photo by Evan-Amos/Wikimedia Creative Commons License.

In the 2014 survey Brazil had been listed in fifth place of the costliest Big Mac in the world.

The most expensive Big Mac in the world in January 2015 can be purchased in Switzerland at a cost of US$7.54. Norway, which in 2014 had the highest priced Big Mac, fell to second place, with the cost of the burger at US$6.30, followed by Denmark at US$5.38.

On the other end of the cost spectrum the survey shows that the Ukraine is the place with the cheapest Big Mac, at only US$1.30 per sandwich. Other places where one can purchase the McDonald’s burger for less than US$2.00 include Russia (US$1.36) and India (US$1.89 – although measurement here is the Maharaja chicken burger).

The Economist created its Big Mac Index in 1986 to show the purchasing power of currencies in countries where the survey is conducted. The index is based on the economic theory of purchasing power parity (PPP), where the idea is that “in the long run exchange rates should move towards the rate that would equalize the prices of an identical basket of goods and services (in this case, a burger) in any two countries.”

Since the McDonald’s fast food chain can be found in more than 120 countries, the Big Mac came to be known through the years as a good thermometer to indicate how much purchasing power consumers have in those countries.

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