Singapore has dethroned the Japanese capital to become the world’s most expensive city in 2014, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit’s latest Worldwide Cost of Living survey.
The bi-annual report, which ranks 131 global cities, credits currency appreciation, solid price inflation and high costs of living for Singapore’s dubious new distinction.
“Car costs have very high related certificate of entitlement fees attached to them, which makes Singapore significantly more expensive than any other location when it comes to running a car,” says the report.
“As a result, transport costs in Singapore are almost three times higher than in New York. In addition, as a city-state with very few natural resources to speak of, Singapore is reliant on other countries for energy and water supplies, making it the third most expensive destination for utility costs.”
Singapore is also the priciest place in the world to buy clothes.
Last year’s title holder Tokyo, dropped from the top spot to sixth — tied with Melbourne, Geneva and Caracas.
Tokyo’s decline is due to the weaker yen, says the EIU.
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World’s 10 most expensive cities to live in 2014
3. Oslo, Norway
4. Zurich, Switzerland
6. Caracas, Venezuela
6. Geneva, Switzerland
7. Copenhagen, Denmark
Asia also has the world’s cheapest city on the list.
Down at the other end of the 131-city survey, the EIU lists Mumbai as the world’s least expensive city to live in. The Indian capital, New Delhi, is third cheapest.
“Although India has been tipped for future growth, much of this is driven by its large population and the untapped potential within the economy,” says the EIU.
“Income inequality means that low wages proliferate, driving down household spending and creating many tiers of pricing that keep per capita spending low.
“This, combined with a cheap and plentiful supply of goods into cities, as well as government subsidies on some products, has kept prices down, especially by Western standards.”
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World’s 10 least expensive cities to live in 2014
122. Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
123. Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
124. Panama City, Panama
124. Bucharest, Romania
126. Algiers, Algeria
127. Damascus, Syria
127. Kathmandu, Nepal
129. New Delhi
130. Karachi, Pakistan
131. Mumbai, India
The Worldwide Cost of Living survey is released twice a year by the EIU.
It compares more than 400 individual prices across 160 products and services in 131 cities, including food, drink, clothing, household supplies and personal care items, home rents, transport, utility bills, private schools, domestic help and recreational costs.
In total, more than 50,000 individual prices are collected in each survey.
“The cost-of-living index uses an identical set of weights that is internationally based and not geared toward the spending pattern of any specific nationality,” says the EIU. “Items are individually weighted across a range of categories and a comparative index is produced using the relative difference by weighted item.”