Living rich life gets costlier as lifestyle inflation soars

Wine toasting

If rising prices of food and fuel are hurting the common man, the Richie Rich club has its own inflation-related worries that is in prices of Chanel bags and Rolex watches among other high-end lifestyle products.

In a first-of-its-kind inflation measure for the HNWIs (High Net Worth Individuals), a study has found that prices of high-end lifestyle products have risen by 11.7 per cent in Asia-Pacific region, including India, in the past one year.

The study by the Swiss banking major Julius Baer has also found that the rise in this Lifestyle Index, which measures the prices of high-end products used by HNWIs, is in fact much higher than the overall consumer price inflation of 5.1 per cent for the region in the same period.

It took into account the prices of 20 lifestyle products and services widely used by HNWIs, such as wine, accessories, cigar and club membership, in four major cities of Asia-Pacific region Mumbai, Singapore, Shanghai and Hong Kong.

The index, published for the first time, was calculated after taking into account the price change in these products over a one-year period ending April 2011.

"Based on a basket of 20 luxury goods and services that represent discretionary purchases of HNWI in the region, the index covers high-end vendors across four major cities: Hong Kong, Shanghai, Singapore, and Mumbai," Julius Baer said while announcing the launch of its Lifestyle Index.

"The fact that the Index was up 11.7 per cent for the one-year time period until April 2011 shows clearly that the cost of living in luxury in Asia substantially outpaces conventional CPI measures, which stood at 5.1 per cent for the same time period analysed," it added.

The Lifestyle Index comprised of items like a bottle of Lafite Rothschild (up about 22 per cent), Chanel bag (up about 17.5 per cent), Steinway Grand Piano (up 16.7 per cent), Tiffany diamond ring (up over 10 per cent), Oyster Rolex watch (up 9.1 per cent), Cohiba siglo VI cigar and Scupltra liquid facelift.

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