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Singapore ‘world’s most expensive city’ for fifth year in a row, survey says

Lion city lingers at the top, while Hong Kong came in fourth in survey that rates cities on the cost of daily necessities

PUBLISHED : Friday, 16 March, 2018, 1:13pm
UPDATED : Friday, 16 March, 2018, 1:13pm

Singapore remains the world’s most expensive city for the fifth consecutive year, with Paris, Zurich and Hong Kong following closely behind, according to the Worldwide Cost of Living Survey published on Thursday.

Low inflation meant Tokyo – the most expensive city until 2013 – dropped out of the top 10 in The Economist Intelligence Unit’s biannual study of 133 cities.

Meanwhile, euro strength and a weaker pound saw the Irish capital Dublin overtake London, which is now ranked 30th, said the report’s author Roxana Slavcheva.

“A strong euro has driven up the relative cost of living in not just Dublin, but all euro zone cities included in the survey,” she said. “This has resulted in a move up the rankings for Dublin of six spots (to 19) since last year’s ranking, even as consumer price inflation in Ireland remains low.”

The report noted that Britain’s cities are at their cheapest level internationally in more than two decades, in part due to economic uncertainty following the 2016 Brexit vote.

Other significant changes saw Seoul become the world’s sixth most expensive city, while currency appreciation means Tel Aviv rose from 34th place five years ago to ninth today.

Researchers compared the cost of more than 400 items such as cars, food, rent and clothing. A loaf of bread cost US$15.59 in Seoul versus US$3.87 in Copenhagen, for instance, while a bottle of wine in Tel Aviv was US$28.77 but just US$8.37 in Geneva.

Notably, no US cities featured in the top 10, with New York and Los Angeles ranking 13th and 14th respectively. That was largely due to a weaker dollar, the report found.

The Uzbek capital Tashkent became much cheaper after its currency nearly halved in a single day after being allowed to float freely last year. Cairo became cheaper too after floating its currency in late 2016.

New Delhi, Bucharest and Algiers were in the ten cheapest cities, while places experiencing political turmoil, such as Damascus and Caracas, also featured at the bottom of the survey.