The world’s most expensive (and cheapest) cities for 2018

 Revealed: The world’s most expensive (and cheapest) cities for 2018, BY Annabel Fenwick Elliott

Singapore has been declared the most expensive city on Earth for the fifth year running, according to an extensive annual study of prices.

The Economist Intelligence Unit’s Worldwide Cost of Living Survey has ranked 133 cities according to the price of more than 150 items.

Budget-conscious travellers might want to give Paris a swerve too, which leapt five places up the charts to second place after Singapore among the world’s most expensive cities, followed by Switzerland’s capital of Zurich and then Hong Kong.

The world’s 10 most expensive cities

  1. Singapore (=)
  2. Paris, France (+5)
  3. Zurich, Switzerland (+1)
  4. Hong Kong (-2)
  5. Oslo, Norway (+6)
  6. Geneva, Switzerland (+1)
  7. Seoul, South Korea (=)
  8. Copenhagen, Denmark (+1)
  9. Tel Aviv, Israel (+2)
  10. Sydney, Australia (+4)

The cheapest city this year was found to be Damascus in Syria. The war-torn, tourist no-go zone fell 14 places to claim its title from Almaty in Kazakhstan, which was last year’s cheapest metropolis.

Ongoing economic uncertainty thanks to the 2016 Brexit referendum has toppled the strength of the British pound, pushing London to 30th on the list – a drop of six places since last year, making it the cheapest it’s been in two decades. Manchester fell even further to 56th.

The world’s 10 cheapest cities

  1. Damascus, Syria (-14)
  2. Caracas, Venezuela (-13)
  3. Almaty, Kazakhstan (+2)
  4. Lagos, Nigeria (+2)
  5. Bangalore, India (+2)
  6. Karachi, Pakistan (+3)
  7. Algiers, Algeria (=)
  8. Chennai, India (+1)
  9. Bucharest, Romania (0)
  10. New Delhi, India (0)

And while this might be good news for inbound tourists, what does it mean for Britons travelling abroad? London residents spending £6.27 (on average) for a bottle of wine back home, for example, would spend on average £8.52 in Paris, £9.81 in Oslo, £10.76 in New York, £11.38 in Zurich and a wallet-bashing £16.96 in Singapore.

Elsewhere in Western Europe, with the exception of Paris, non-euro zone cities remain priciest. Zurich (joint 2nd with Paris), Oslo (fifth), Geneva (sixth) and Copenhagen (eighth) are among the 10 most expensive.

“This is something we have not seen in over a decade,”  comments Roxana Slavcheva, the editor of the survey.

“The competition between Asian hubs like Singapore, Hong Kong (fourth) and Seoul (joint sixth with Geneva), on the one hand and European destinations such as Paris, Zurich and Oslo on the other will be ones to watch over the next survey cycle.”

She added: “More interesting is the fall in the ranking for the Japanese cities, Tokyo and Osaka, which were in the top five most expensive just last year.” Tokyo was actually the world’s most expensive city until 2013, but low inflation has since nudged it down to 11th.

Biggest moves down the rankings

  1. Tashkent, Uzbekistan (-35)
  2. Cairo, Egypt (-22)
  3. Chicago, US (-14)
  4. Nouméa, New Caledonia (-14)
  5. Damascus, Syria (-14)
  6. Caracas, Venezuela (-13)
  7. San José, Costa Rica (-12)
  8. Washington DC, US (-10)
  9. Dhaka, Bangladesh (-10)
  10. Istanbul, Turkey (-10)

As for the cheapest cities in the world – Damascus topping the charts – South Asian regions have continued to sit in the top 10, not moving more than two or three spots from last year; India’s Bangalore, Chennai and New Delhi, and Pakistan’s Karachi among them. The second cheapest city – Caracas in Venezuela – however, screeched 13 places up this year.

Of all 133 cities, Mexico City saw the fastest rise in the relative cost of living, owing to currency movements as well as rising inflation stoked by a jump in petrol prices in early 2017, the report found. Moving up 23 places to 59th position, it is now the most expensive city in Latin America.

Biggest moves up the rankings

  1. Mexico City, Mexico (+23)
  2. Santiago, Chile (+20)
  3. St Petersburg, Russia (+14)
  4. Kiev, Ukraine (+14)
  5. Prague, Czech Republic (+13)
  6. Belgrade, Serbia (+13)
  7. Pretoria, South Africa (+13)
  8. Moscow, Russia (+12)
  9. Johannesburg, South Africa (+11)
  10. Madrid, Spain (+10)

After Mexico City, in terms of the fastest risers in cost of living, we have Santiago in Chile, Russia’s St Petersburg, and Ukraine’s capital of Kiev respectively.

Turning our attention to the US, with the dollar weakening against other currencies, none of its cities rank among the 10 most expensive cities this year. New York comes in at 13th, with Los Angeles placing 14th, compared with ninth and 11th position, respectively, last year.

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