If you are a fan of McDonald’s staple burger the Big Mac you might be interested to learn that the cheapest place in the world to purchase the famous sandwich right now is Lebanon.
According to The Economist’s long-running Big Mac index, a Big Mac in Lebanon currently costs a staggering 29,904 Lebanese pounds which isn’t cheap by local standards.
However, because of the exchange rate, if you were paying for a Big Mac in Lebanon using US dollars it would only cost $1.68 (£1.20) – which is good news for hungry tourists. For comparison, a Big Mac in the US currently costs $5.65 and £3.49 in the UK. This makes the burger 70.2 per cent undervalued against the US dollar and 64.6 per cent against the British pound.
This is all down to a dramatic and worrying slump in the value of the Lebanese pound which has been exacerbated by the pandemic forcing basic goods like rice and flour to skyrocket in value. According to the Crisis Observatory at the American University of Beirut, the cost of food in Lebanon has increased by 700 per cent in the last two years.
The inflation has caused less fortunate citizens to sell off their valuables, such as cars and furniture to make ends meet whereas others are waiting on US dollar transfers from relatives who live abroad, as per Arab News.
Meanwhile, if you want to avoid paying over the odds for a Big Mac then it’s probably not a good time to visit Venezuela where, according to the index, a Big Mac is 47.7 per cent overvalued against the US dollar and 75.7 per cent against the British pound.
Right now a Big Mac in Venezuela would cost 30,164,100.00 Bolivares which is worth just 0.000054385608 pounds and 0.00007587868 dollars. Venezuela's problems can be attributed to the economic sanctions placed on the country in reaction to the crisis that unfolded in the country under former president Hugo Chavez.
The next most expensive countries on the index are Switzerland, Norway and Sweden with the United States coming in fifth. The Economist invented the index in 1986 as a more leftfield and digestible way of understanding whether international currencies were at their ‘correct’ level.