Singapore is now the world’s most expensive city, according to the bi-annual cost of living index from the Economist Intelligence Unit, our corporate sibling. The Singapore dollar’s appreciation and high transport costs have propelled it to top spot. Tokyo and Osaka, which ranked first and second last year, have seen the biggest falls in costs because of a cheaper yen.
The index is a weighted average of the prices of 160 products and services, with New York’s figure set to 100 to provide a base for comparisons. Paris rose six places from last year, reflecting a recovery in European prices.
Strikingly, Tehran experienced a steep rise in costs over the past five years as economic sanctions began to bite. Mumbai offers the best value for money.
As for the seeming anomaly of why Caracas should be one of the priciest cities, it is because the Venezuelan bolívar is pegged to the dollar: if black market rates were applied, Caracas would comfortably become the world’s cheapest city in which to live.