Singapore emerges world's most expensive city

Singapore city
Singapore city Reuters

Singapore, which has hit the headlines a few days ago as the 34th country in World Happiness Index 2018 is back in news as the most expensive city in the world, consecutively for the fifth time in a row.

The Worldwide Cost of Living Survey, conducted by The Economist's Intelligence Unit, showed that Singapore surpassed other top cities, Paris, Zurich, Hong Kong and Oslo, to become the most expensive city in the world.

The survey focused on the comparison of prices, more than 150 items in 133 cities. It also cited currency fluctuations as a driver behind changes. Apart from the above cities, Switzerland's Geneva was placed in the 6th position followed by Seoul, Copenhagen, Tel Aviv and Sydney.

Until 2013, Tokyo was known as the most expensive city in the world but it dropped out of the top 10 positions in view of the fast emerging cities elsewhere in Asia and Europe.

The Economist Intelligence Unit analyst Roxana Slavcheva told Financial Review, "A strong euro has driven up the relative cost of living in not just Dublin, but all eurozone cities included in the survey... This has resulted in a move up the rankings for Dublin of six spots (to 19) since last year's ranking, even as consumer price inflation in Ireland remains low."

Many Asian cities have been ranked high in the survey due to higher grocery costs but in case of Singapore, it offers relative value in terms of personal care and domestic help, stated the report. In case of North American cities, where the costs of domestic help and utilities are higher, many of them ranked high as expensive cities. Cities like New York and Los Angeles have been ranked 13th and 14th respectively.

However, due to the economic uncertainty after 2016 Brexit vote, many cities in Britain are shown at the down. Tashkent, the capital of Uzbekistan has become a cheaper city after its currency was halved in a single day and Cairo became cheaper after floating its currency in late 2016.

On its part, Singapore remains 6th in Transparency International's (TI) Corruption Perceptions Index 2017, which was published last month. Singapore emerged unscathed in terms of a corruption-free nation, surpassing Canada, United Kingdom, Germany, Hong Kong, the United States, Japan and India.