Recent bi-annual survey conducted by the Economic Intelligence Unit (EIU) has named Singapore as the world’s most expensive city for expats to live in. According to the survey results released on Monday (Nov 6), Singapore has retained the title for the fourth consecutive year, which suggests the same finding from previous survey held last March.
In the Worldwide Cost of Living 2017 survey, Asian cities made up for half of the 10 most expensive cities for expats. Besides Singapore on the top of the list, Hong Kong came in second ahead of Zurich, while Japanese cities such as Tokyo and Osaka also return to the ranking, Channel News Asia reports.
However, despite being the most costly place to live in, the report said that Singapore offers relative value in several categories, especially when compared with its regional peers. For example, in terms of personal care, household goods, and domestic help, Singapore remains significantly cheaper than its peers. Nevertheless, it remains the most expensive place in the world to purchase and run a car, as well as the second-priciest destination to buy clothes.
The report also said that when it comes to food and drink, the cost of living in Singapore is on par with that of Shanghai in China. Meanwhile, Seoul, Tokyo, and Osaka were the three most expensive places in the world to buy staple goods. Even in Seoul, shopping a basket of grocery is almost 50 percent more expensive than in New York.
New York is the only North American representative in the ranking, while Western Europe accounts for more four cities. According to the report, slight weakening of the US dollar affected the position of US cities in the list, such as New York that fell from seventh to ninth place this year. However, this still represents a comparatively sharp increase in the relative cost of living compared with five years ago, when New York was only ranked 46th.
The report stated that, “With the strength of the US dollar moderating and the euro remaining relatively stable, currencies such as the Canadian dollar, the Australian dollar and the New Zealand dollar have appreciated in value. As a result, Sydney and Melbourne in Australia, and Wellington and Auckland in New Zealand all feature among the 20 most expensive cities.”
Meanwhile, Paris is the only Eurozone city among the top 10 most expensive. Danish capital Copenhagen, which pegs its currency to the euro, is also featured in the top list, largely owing to the relatively high transportation and personal care costs.
It is pointed out in the report that when looking at the most expensive cities by category, it is worth noted that Asian cities tend to form the priciest locations for general grocery shopping. Meanwhile, European cities tend to be priciest in the recreation and entertainment categories, with Zurich and Geneva came as the most expensive. These findings might reflect a greater premium on discretionary spending.