Published: Wed, March 20, 2019
Markets | By Otis Pena

Singapore, Hong Kong, and Paris Tied as the World's Most Expensive Cities

Singapore, Hong Kong, and Paris Tied as the World's Most Expensive Cities

There aren't many things more heavenly than a fresh loaf of bread from a Paris boulangerie, but it might cost you a pretty penny.

According to the annual Worldwide Cost of Living survey by the Economist Intelligence Unit, the title of most expensive city is shared by Paris, Hong Kong, and Singapore-the first time in the survey's 30-year history that three cities are in the top spot.

Istanbul kept its place as the most populous in the country and its population has grown by 907,257 people in five years, according to a recent study by the United Nations Population Fund.

The goal of the survey, according to its authors, is to "help human resources and finance managers calculate cost-of-living allowances and build compensation packages for expatriates and business travelers".

Survey editor Roxana Slavcheva said in a release that researchers noticed "converging costs in traditionally more expensive cities like Copenhagen, Seoul, New York and Los Angeles".

A woman's haircut was about US$15 (€13) in Bangalore, India, compared to $210 (€185) in NY, for example, while a bottle of beer was about half a dollar in Lagos, Nigeria, and more than $3 (€2.6) in Zurich.

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The French capital was the only eurozone city in the top 10, rising from second most expensive last year and from 7th position two years ago. They ranked seventh and tenth, respectively.

USA cities rose on the list because of the nation's dollar strengthening against other currencies.

Move over Singapore - the world's most expensive city has two new rivals.

"When looking at the most expensive cities by category, Asian cities tend to be the priciest locations for general grocery shopping".

"Last year inflation and devaluations were prominent factors in determining the cost of living, with many cities tumbling down the ranking owing to economic turmoil, currency weakness or falling local prices", the report says. The report notes, however, that "the trend can also be attributed to changes in the ranking elsewhere rather than US cities becoming more expensive domestically".

Political turmoil in Venezuela plummeted Caracas to the bottom of the ranking, followed by Damascus, Syria, with Karachi, Pakistan, Buenos Aires, Argentina, and New Delhi, India also featuring among the 10 cheapest cities. "Put simply", the report authors note, "cheaper cities also tend to be less livable".

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