Singapore Most Expensive City Worldwide — Economist Intelligence Unit

Posted March 22, 2017

Topping up a grocery basket in Seoul was nearly 50% more expensive than in NY, the EIU report stated.

"Although the Indian subcontinent remains structurally cheap, instability is becoming an increasingly prominent factor in lowering the relative cost of living of a location", EIU said, adding that "this means that there is a considerable element of risk in some of the world's cheapest cities".

Japan's capital, the world's costliest city until 2012, jumped seven places to No. 4 this year and Osaka climbed nine notches to No. 5, both bolstered by a resurgent yen, the Economist Intelligence Unit's Worldwide Cost of Living Survey showed Tuesday.

Several European countries topped the list as well, including Zurich, Switzerland, which was the third most expensive place.

Seoul, Geneva, Paris, New York and Copenhagen complete the Top 10. This year, Almaty, Kazakhstan's business center, and Lagos in Nigeria were ranked the world's cheapest. Currently, living in Paris is 7% more expensive than living in NY, but just five years ago it was 50% pricier.

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Other cities that saw costs tumble included Buenos Aires, which fell 20 places to 82nd in the ranking, something that the EIU attributes to ongoing economic volatility in Argentina.

With Singapore on top, Hong Kong (second), Tokyo (fourth), Osaka (fifth) and Seoul (sixth) in South Korea also making it, the top 10 was 50 percent Asian. The survey, which compares the prices of 160 goods and services in 133 cities around the world and is primarily used by human resources managers to calculate compensation packages for overseas postings, found that Singapore was 20% more expensive than NY and 6% pricier than Hong Kong, which lies in second place. San Francisco and Lexington, Kentucky were the only American cities out of the 16 surveyed to move up the rankings.

With Japanese cities returning to the fold, Asia now accounts for half of the ten most expensive cities ranked. Significantly, a bottle of table wine was far cheaper in Indian cities, despite stiff taxes, than it was in Singapore and Seoul.

Kiev, Bucharest, and New Delhi are the cheapest cities ranked all 124th.