Singapore has been named the most expensive city in the world for the second year in a row, in a new survey by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU).
The top five cities on the list remained unchanged from last year, with Paris, Oslo, Zurich and Sydney all coming consecutively after Singapore. According to the EIU, it is “relatively rare” to have an identical top five two years in a row.
The EIU’s Worldwide Cost of Living report includes 133 cities worldwide, using New York’s prices as a base. The survey is designed to help human resource managers calculate cost-of-living allowances for business travellers and compares prices across 160 products and services, including food, drink, clothing, rent and transport.
However, according to Lonely Planet tourists should not be put off by the high prices; Singapore topped their Best in Travel 2015 list, released at the end of last year. Selected for its cuisine and culture, the city-state also celebrates fifty years of independence this year.
Grocery prices in Singapore are 11 percent higher than New York, and it is 50 percent more expensive for clothing. Utility costs are high; as city-state with limited resources of its own, it is reliant heavily on other countries for supply of energy and water. Transport costs are also triple those in New York, which the EIU attributes to “Singapore's complex Certificate of Entitlement system” – the ten-year license that drivers must purchase to buy a vehicle - which makes car prices “excessive”.
Major Japanese cities like Tokyo, which was named the most expensive city in the world in 2013, were missing from the list for the first time in 20 years, due to devaluation of the yen and weak inflation. Karachi, the capital of Pakistan, came top of the list of the world’s cheapest cities, followed by Bangalore, Caracas, Mumbai, Chennai and New Delhi. Bucharest is the only European country on this list; although wages are low, the cost of living is too offering relative value for money.
The biggest fall was Caracas in Venezuela, which slid 124 places. Usually a consistently expensive city, reaching 6 place last year, it came out as one of the cheapest in this survey due to a weaker currency and the use of multiple exchange rates.