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Still the World’s Priciest Cities to Live in

Singapore and Zurich leaped ahead of New York to snatch the title of the world’s priciest cities to live in this year, according to a fresh global survey.

The sky-high cost of owning a car, the hefty price tag on alcohol, and the rising cost of groceries propelled Singapore ahead of the US city, with which it shared the top spot last year, as per the Economist Intelligence Unit’s Worldwide Cost of Living 2023 report.

Zurich climbed from sixth place last year to tie for the first spot, thanks in part to the robust Swiss franc, along with the expensive nature of groceries, household goods, and recreation.

Geneva, on par with New York in third place, and Hong Kong rounded out the list of the top five costliest places. Globally, prices increased by an average of 7.4% year-on-year in local currency terms, slightly lower than the 8.1% increase seen last year.

Chinese cities saw significant drops in the rankings, mainly due to the country’s sluggish post-pandemic recovery and subdued consumer demand.

Additional discoveries from the study include:

  • Los Angeles (sixth place) and San Francisco (tenth) were the only other US cities in the top 10.
  • The cheapest city remained the Syrian capital of Damascus, despite its cost-of-living basket price surging by 321%.
  • Mexico’s Santiago de Querétaro and Aguascalientes saw the most significant global upward movements in the ranking after the peso strengthened against the US dollar.
  • The weakening Japanese yen caused Tokyo to slip 23 places to the 60th position, and Osaka dropped 27 spots to rank 70th.
  • While Tel Aviv in Israel made the top 10, the survey was conducted before the Israel-Hamas war, which could have impacted prices.
  • Utility prices saw the slowest increase among the 10 broad categories of goods and services examined, rising by 5.7%.

“The supply-side shocks that drove price increases in 2021-22 have reduced since China lifted its Covid-19 restrictions in late 2022, while the spike in energy prices seen after Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022 has also eased,” said Upasana Dutt, head of worldwide cost of living at EIU. “Despite upside risks, we expect inflation to decelerate further in 2024, easing prices globally.”

The survey was conducted between Aug. 14 and Sept. 11 and compared more than 400 individual prices in 173 cities globally.

Here’s the 2023 ranking of the world’s priciest cities, with some cities sharing positions:

  1. Singapore
  2. Zurich
  3. Geneva
  4. New York
  5. Hong Kong
  6. Los Angeles
  7. Paris
  8. Copenhagen
  9. Tel Aviv
  10. San Francisco
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