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The cheapest and most expensive cities in APAC

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It’s no surprise that Singapore continues to be the most expensive city globally. What’s interesting though, is that for the first time, three cities are sharing the title of world’s most expensive city.

According to the latest results from The Economist Intelligence Unit’s (EIU) 2019 Worldwide Cost of Living Survey, having spent the past five years alone at the top, Singapore is joined by Hong Kong (China) and Paris (France).

In Asia Pacific, The Lion City and its regional rival were followed by Osaka (Japan), Seoul (South Korea), and Tokyo (Japan).

In the rest of APAC, Nouméa (New Caledonia) saw the fastest rise in relative cost of living, moving up 33 spots to joint 20th place globally. Another big mover is Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia, rising ten spots in the ranking to 88th place globally. Following suit are Bangkok (Thailand, joint 41st) and Manila (Philippines, joint 92nd) both climbing up by nine places, while Hanoi in Vietnam and Phnom Penh in Cambodia each rose by six places.

On the flip side, all South Asian cities feature among the cheapest 30 in the world, and continue to offer the best value for money in the region. India and Pakistan account for four of the ten cheapest cities, with Bangalore, the cheapest city in Asia, being more than twice cheaper than the three most expensive cities.

The report noted that exchange-rate volatility has meant that, while some notable Asian cities have largely risen in cost of living terms, many other urban centres in China and Australia have seen contrasting movements.

All five Australian and two New Zealand cities were pushed down the ranking by weaker local currencies. In particular, Sydney has fallen to the 16th spot globally from 10th last year, while Melbourne (22nd) is no longer in the top 20 globally. Similarly, Auckland and Wellington in New Zealand tumbled down by 14 and 17 places respectively.

Like their Australian counterparts, Chinese cities have mostly seen a decline in rankings, becoming relatively less expensive. EIU noted that primary driver here has been the economic slowdown led by domestic factors, with the tighter financial conditions and ongoing trade war with the US continuing to erode consumer and business confidence.

12 most expensive cities in APAC (most expensive at the top)

#1 Singapore (Singapore)
Global rank: 1
Rank movement from 2018: 0

#2 Hong Kong (China)
Global rank: 1
Rank movement from 2018: 3

#3 Osaka (Japan)
Global rank: 5
Rank movement from 2018: 6

#4 Seoul (South Korea)
Global rank: 7
Rank movement from 2018: -1

#5 Tokyo (Japan)
Global rank: 13
Rank movement from 2018: -2

#6 Sydney (Australia)
Global rank: 16
Rank movement from 2018: -6

#7 Nouméa (New Caledonia)
Global rank: 20
Rank movement from 2018: 33

#8 Melbourne (Australia)
Global rank: 22
Rank movement from 2018: -8

#9 Shanghai (China)
Global rank: 25
Rank movement from 2018: -4

#10 Shenzhen (China)
Global rank: 25
Rank movement from 2018: -2

#11 Auckland (New Zealand)
Global rank: 38
Rank movement from 2018: -14

#12 Brisbane (Australia)
Global rank: 41
Rank movement from 2018: -15

12 cheapest cities in APAC (cheapest at the top)

#1 Bangalore (India)
Global rank: 129
Rank movement from 2018: 0

#2 Karachi (Pakistan)
Global rank: 127
Rank movement from 2018: 0

#3 Chennai (India)
Global rank: 125
Rank movement from 2018: 1

#4 New Delhi (India)
Global rank: 123
Rank movement from 2018: 1

#5 Mumbai (India)
Global rank: 122
Rank movement from 2018: -1

#6 Kathmandu (Nepal)
Global rank: 117
Rank movement from 2018: -1

#7 Colombo (Sri Lanka)
Global rank: 111
Rank movement from 2018: 1

#8 Manila (Philippines)
Global rank: 92
Rank movement from 2018: 9

#9 Jakarta (Indonesia)
Global rank: 92
Rank movement from 2018: -2

#10 Bandar Seri Begawan (Brunei)
Global rank: 90
Rank movement from 2018: 5

#11 Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia)
Global rank: 88
Rank movement from 2018: 10

#12 Ho Chi Minh City (Vietnam)
Global rank: 80
Rank movement from 2018: 2

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