singapore not to withdra foreign worker levy
People pass the skyline of the central business district in Singapore January 4, 2016 Reuters

Singapore has emerged as the world's most expensive city to live in for the fourth consecutive year, narrowly edging past its rivals, a report by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) showed on Monday.

Hong Kong remained at the second spot, closely followed by Zurich while the return of Japanese cities Tokyo and Osaka to the ranking means that Asian cities account for half of the 10 most expensive in the Worldwide Cost of Living 2017 survey.

Western Europe accounted for a further four cities, while New York City is the lone North American representative, EIU survey showed.

The Big Apple, which rose to seventh place last year, fell to ninth owing to a slight weakening of the U.S. dollar, which has also affected the position of other U.S. cities.

Despite topping the ranking, Singapore still "offers relative value in some categories, especially compared with its regional peers," according to EIU.

For categories such as personal care, household goods and domestic help, Singapore remained significantly cheaper than its peers, although it remained the most expensive place in the world to buy and run a car, as well as the second-priciest destination in which to buy clothes.

Seoul, Tokyo and Osaka were the three most expensive places in the world to buy staple goods. In Seoul, filling a grocery basket is almost 50 per cent more expensive than in New York.

Paris is the only eurozone city among the 10 most expensive, while Danish capital Copenhagen, which pegs its currency to the euro, also features in the 10 priciest, largely owing to relatively high transport and personal care costs.

"The French capital remains structurally extremely expensive to live in, with only alcohol and tobacco offering value for money compared with other European cities," the survey said.