Singapore Is 2015 World’s Most Expensive City To Live In – The Economist


Singapore which topped the 2014’s Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) list of the world’s most expensive cities to live in, according to the 2014 list remains the world’s most expensive city this year since the latest ranking delivers no changes among the top five cities.

Though this display of a fair degree of stability by the list may seem misleading as it is extremely rare for an exactly alike top five to be attained in ranking the global cost of living. But the reassertion of an identical top five is as a result of a stronger US dollar and weaker euro thrusting euro zone cities back down later in 2014. The subsequent unpegging of the Swiss franc from the euro means that, at today’s exchange rates, Zurich and Geneva would be the world’s most expensive cities, with indices of 136 and 130 respectively.

Remember that Singapore which was ranked No 18 a decade ago in the EIU’s Worldwide Cost of Living Survey jumped five places from No 6 in 2013 list to lie in fourth position midway through 2014, then topped 2014’s list and now remains at the top of the list after rising in the list in recent years.

Other countries which are also sitting conveniently in the top five of the EIU list with the Lion City Singapore after bumping Tokyo from No 1 spot to be the top on Economist Intelligence Unit list for the first time in 2014 include Paris, Oslo, Zurich and Sydney. While Tokyo, the most expensive city to live in for 2013, took a slide down with Osaka on the list. At No 10 is Seoul, which was ranked 50th five years ago and is now as good as Hong Kong, which was once (in 2003) the third most expensive city surveyed.

The Republic’s strong currency, which has appreciated about 40 per cent over the past decade, plus soaring utility bills and the high cost of car ownership added to Singapore’s rise in the list, based on the EIU. Singapore’s complex Certificate of Entitlement fee system makes car prices excessive, and transport costs in Singapore are nearly three times higher than in New York.

Also according to Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) this year, Singapore and Seoul are the world’s most expensive spots to buy clothes with the malls of Orchard Road offering a price premium that is over 50% higher than in New York.

According to Mr Jon Copestake, the editor of the EIU report last year’s comment ‘Improving sentiment in structurally expensive European cities combined with the continued rise of Asian hubs means that these two regions continue to supply most of the world’s most expensive cities,”

“But Asian cities also continue to make up many of the world’s cheapest, especially in the Indian subcontinent.”

In spite of the fact that Singapore is topping the ranking, the country still provides relative value in some categories, particularly when compared with its regional peers. As a matter of fact Singapore is only 11% more expensive than New York when comparing their general basic groceries. This compares with 49% more in Seoul, 43% in Tokyo and 31% in Hong Kong, which means that the value for money can be discovered by those who seek it. But Singapore remains consistently expensive in other categories.

Mostly, higher costs of groceries was tagged as a reason for most Asian cities taking the higher spots in last year’s list, with Tokyo put at the top of last year’s list for everyday food items. However, this year’s list Seoul grabbed the spot.

Both European and Asian countries have a fair share of the top ten most expensive cities to live in because of the significant increase in the cost of living in the both continents. But even in this relationship, the dynamics have changed over time. Weak inflation, or deflation and a devaluation of the Japanese yen, has thrust the cities of Tokyo and Osaka further down the list. Both cities have traditionally been the two most expensive in the world over the past 20 years, but they now lie in 11th and 16th place respectively.

 The Table Below Shows 2015’s Top Ten Most Expensive Cities To Live in.

Note that the Worldwide Cost of Living is a twice yearly Economist Intelligence Unit survey that compares more than 400 individual prices across 160 products and services. These include food, drink, clothing, household supplies and personal care items, home rents, transport, utility bills, private schools, domestic help and recreational costs.

The survey allows for city-to-city comparisons, but the main reason for this report is to compare all cities to a base city of New York, which has an index set at 100. The survey has been carried out for more than 30 years

According to the EIU statement, the survey is meant to let human resource line managers and expatriate executives compare the cost of living in 140 cities in 93 countries, which would allow hiring companies to calculate a fair remuneration package for relocating employees.