Climbing up 5 positions up the chart, Singapore has clinched the title of the world’s most expensive city in the 2013 survey conducted by Economic Intelligence Unit (EIU).
The survey is based on a compilation of price information of more than 160 items-from food, toiletries and clothing to domestic help, transport and utility bills in 131 cities.
Other cities along with Singapore listed in the top ten list are Paris, Oslo, Zurich, Sydney, Caracas, Geneva, Melbourne, Tokyo and Copenhagen.
The report by EIC states that Singapore’s claim of the world’s most expensive city is nothing much of a surprise as the city state has been moving steadily up the ranking over the last decade and even seen the cost of living compared with New York City declining over the span of the last 12 months. Over the last decade, due to the 40% currency appreciation, coupled with inflation, has consistently pushed Singapore up the ranking.
For example, in comparison with cost of items ten years ago. A bottle of wine that cost USD$13.25 is now priced at USD$25.04 (89% increase) and a loaf of price that cost USD$0.69 is now USD$1.73 (150% increase).
Exorbitantly priced certificate of entitlement (COE) which is required for the purchase of any vehicle, makes Singapore significantly more expensive than any other location when it comes to running a car. As a result, transport costs in Singapore are almost three times higher than in New York. The city is also the third most expensive destination for utility costs for the resource scarce city state.
“Equally, the proliferation of expensive malls and boutiques on Orchard Road (Singapore’s retail hub) import luxury European brands to satisfy a wealthy and fashion conscious consumer base. This means that Singapore is the priciest place in the world in which to buy clothes.” – EIC
While Asian cities is noted to form the priciest locations for general grocery shopping, with Tokyo being the most expensive location for everyday food items. European cities on the other hand tend to be priciest in the recreation and entertainment categories which might indicate a greater premium on discretionary income.
Although Asia is home to some of the world’s most expensive cities, the cheapest cities can also found in the region. The cheapest location, Mumbai and three of the four cheapest cities surveyed hail from Pakistan, India and Nepal comes from the Indian subcontinent.
Damascus have joined the ranks of the cheapest cities with a drop of 11 positions mainly due to the unfolding crisis in Syria and its impact on the country’s exchange rates.
Although the cities may be cheap to live in but some might be put off by the security risk posed in countries where the cities are situated in. For example, Pakistan, Nepal, Syria and Algeria are featured in the bottom ten, but the countries have had well documented security issues or domestic unrest.
(Image by Terry Xu)