In Brief

The world’s ten most expensive cities - and the cheapest

Three places tie for top spot in annual ranking of cost of living for first time ever

currency notes

Singapore, Hong Kong and Paris have been named the joint most expensive cities in the world, while crisis-hit Caracas has the lowest cost of living.

It is the first time that three cities have shared the top spot in the 30-year history of The Economist Intelligence Unit’s Worldwide Cost of Living survey, reports the BBC

The top five is rounded off by Zurich and Geneva, while New York and Los Angeles re-enter the top 10 - in seventh and tenth place respectively - thanks to a strengthening dollar, adds Bloomberg.

The annual ranking is based on the cost of 160 items, including rent, transport and food, in 133 cities across the globe.

Although Singapore is marking its sixth straight year at No. 1, many fluctuations further down the list this year have been attributed to changes in currency rates. The strengthened US dollar saw a rise up the rankings for 14 of the 16 US cities for which prices are collected, while causing currency volatility in emerging markets. 

Tel Aviv is the only Middle Eastern country in the top ten, with the other spots almost evenly split between Europe and Asia. 

At the other end of the scale, Asia is also home to some of the world’s cheapest cities. But the lowest cost of living is in Caracas, in the South American nation of Venezuela, where inflation neared 1,000,000% last year, leading the government to launch a new currency and fuelling social unrest.

Damascus in war-torn Syria was ranked the world’s second cheapest city.

Here are the top ten rankings:

Ten most expensive cities 
CountryCityRank
SingaporeSingapore1
FranceParis1
ChinaHong Kong1
SwitzerlandZurich4
SwitzerlandGeneva5
JapanOsaka5
South KoreaSeoul7
DenmarkCopenhagen7
USNew York7
IsrealTel Aviv10
USLos Angeles10
Ten cheapest cities
CountryCityRank
VenezuelaCaracas133
SyriaDamascus132
UzbekistanTashkent131
KazakhstanAlmaty130
IndiaBangalore129
PakistanKarachi127
NigeriaLagos127
ArgentinaBuenos Aires125
IndiaChennai125
IndiaNew Delhi123

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