Singapore has maintained its distinction as the world’s most expensive city for the second year in a row, in the Economist Intelligence Unit’s (EIU) Worldwide Cost of Living Survey.
This year’s results show no changes in rankings for the top five cities, with Singapore heading the lot, followed by Paris, Oslo, Zurich and Sydney, pointing to these places as “structurally expensive.”
“The situation of an unchanged top five is very rare for the Worldwide Cost of Living Survey and disguises some significant global drivers that are impacting the cost of living everywhere,” commented Jon Copestake, chief retail & consumer goods analyst and editor of the report at the EIU.
Some reasons why Singapore topped the rank Include: steep transport costs (three times higher than the base city, New York), and excessive car prices, linked to the “complex” system of Certificate of Entitlement). Moreover, the malls of Orchard Road sell at a price premium that is over 50% higher than New York.
Despite that, Singapore still offers some value in categories such as groceries, where it is merely 11% more expensive than New York.
Down the list however, there are plenty of movement related to exchange rate weaknesses. Last year’s 6th place, Caracas in Venezuela, fell 124 places to land 4th from the bottom this year.
Kiev in Ukraine fell 38 places and Tehran in Iran fell 61 places.
Even developed markets proved prone to slides, with Tokyo in Japan, the world’s most expensive city two years ago, having fallen to 11th place due to a weak Yen and low inflation.
On the other hand, cities like Seoul in Korea are rising quickly, now in 10th place, while it was ranked 50th five years ago. It also tied first with Singapore for the most expensive place to buy clothes.
“In fact, a look at the data six months ago would have shown a different top five, and things are changing quickly, especially with the fall in oil prices. Rebasing the survey to today’s exchange rates would put Zurich top, highlighting how fluid the global cost of living has become,” added Copestake.
Here’s a list of the 10 most and least expensive cities in the world.
- Singapore (Singapore)
- Paris (France)
- Oslo (Norway)
- Zurich (Switzerland)
- Sydney (Australia)
- Melbourne (Australia)
- Geneva (Switzerland)
- Copenhagen (Denmark)
- Hong Kong (Hong Kong)
- Seoul (South Korea)
- Karachi (Pakistan)
- Bangalore (India)
- Caracas (Venezuela)
- Mumbai (India)
- Chennai (India)
- New Delhi (India)
- Tehran (Iran)
- Damascus (Syria)
- Kathmandu (Nepal)
- Algiers (Algeria)