Singapore Named World's Most Expensive City

By ExpatBriefing.com Editorial 06 March, 2014

A new global survey of the cost of living has found that Singapore is now the world's most expensive city, in part due to a "proliferation" of expensive boutiques and shopping malls selling luxury European brands.

Singapore moved up five places in the Economist Intelligence Unit's (EIU) biannual rankings to claim the top spot. However, the EIU says that Singapore's rise has been "steady rather than spectacular." Along with the new shopping outlets, which have made the city-state the priciest place in the world to buy clothes, long-term factors identified by the EIU include Singapore's lack of natural resources, special costs associated with running a car, and the appreciation of the currency by 40 percent over the past decade.

Elsewhere, Paris jumped six places to become the second dearest city, followed by Oslo and Zurich. Geneva and Copenhagen also made the top ten. According to the EIU, rankings for European cities tend to be due to the expense of a broad array of items, although these locations are also particularly expensive for recreation and entertainment. London dropped out of the top ten during 2013.

Meanwhile, Sydney and Melbourne have both dropped two places, to fifth and eighth, although the EIU warns that the cost of living in Australasia is still rising. Tokyo, the only Asian city besides Singapore currently in the top ten, has dropped from the top position a year ago down to ninth, but remains the most expensive location for everyday food items.

The only western hemisphere country to feature in the top ten is Caracas, due to the currency, but EIU warned that its position is "deceptive," and says that if its black market was taken into account it would be the world's cheapest city. The most expensive city in North America remains New York.

The survey takes account of more than 400 individual prices across 160 products and services, including food, drink, clothing, household supplies and personal care items, home rents, transport, utility bills, private schools, domestic help and, recreational costs.

The EIU's findings come in the wake of a recent quality-of-life survey by consultancy company Mercer that found that Singapore has the best conditions for expats in Asia, while Vienna offers the best lifestyle overall.

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