March 5, 2024
Finance

Do you know that Singapore and Zurich are the most expensive cities in the world?

Worldwide Cost of Living index tracks 173 cities

Singapore retains its position as the world’s most expensive city this year for the ninth time in 11 years, according to the newly released Worldwide Cost of Living (WCOL) 2023 index issued by the Economist Intelligence Unit, the Research and Analysis division of The Economist Group.

The world’s cheapest city is Damascus (Syria).

The Asian city-state ranks jointly with Zurich (Switzerland), which returns to the top of the listing after three years. New York (US), joint first last year, has dropped to third position, tying with Geneva (Switzerland).

Overall, the top 10 cities in the 2023 WCOL listing consist of the Asian cities (Singapore and Hong Kong), the European cities (Zurich, Geneva, Paris and Copenhagen), the US cities (New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco) and Tel Aviv (Israel).

Cost-of-living crisis

According to the WCOL survey conducted between August 14 and September 11, 2023, many global cities are struggling with a cost-of-living crisis, which has sent prices soaring over the past two years.

Upasana Dutt, the study’s lead, stated: “The cost of living crisis is far from over, and price levels continue to be well above historical trends. We expect inflation to continue to slow down in 2024.”

Expensive
In 2023, the world’s cheapest city is Damascus, Syria, according to the 2023 WCOL index. Image: Arnold Pinto

The 2023 survey found that, on average, prices had risen by 7.4% yearly in local currency terms for over 200 commonly used goods and services. This is slightly below the 8.1% increase reported in last year’s survey but significantly higher than the trend from 2017 to 2021.

Although the 2023 WCOL survey covers 173 of the world’s major cities, the inflation averages were calculated by excluding Kyiv (not surveyed in 2022) and Caracas. The supply-side shocks that drove price increases in 2021-22 have reduced since China lifted its pandemic restrictions in late 2022, while the spike in energy prices seen after Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022 has also eased, the report’s authors noted.

Updated bi-annually, the WCOL index compares living costs in 173 cities globally, rating them on how expensive or not they are. The study considers current and past trends that influence the cost of living, including currency swings, local inflation and commodity shocks.

Featured image: Singapore is the world’s most expensive city for the ninth time in 11 years, according to the Worldwide Cost of Living 2023 index issued by the Economist Intelligence Unit, the Research and Analysis division of The Economist Group. Image: Joshua Ang

    Arnold Pinto

    Arnold Pinto

    Arnold Pinto is an award-winning journalist with wide-ranging Middle East and Asia experience in the tech, space, aerospace, aviation, defence, luxury watchmaking, business, fashion, and automotive verticals. He is passionate about conserving endangered native wildlife globally and protecting the world’s oceans from plastic pollution, overfishing, and climate change. Arnold enjoys 4x4 off-roading, camping and exploring global destinations off the beaten track.
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