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Hong Kong shares gold for world’s most expensive city, alongside Paris and Singapore, survey says

Hong Kong and Paris are now tied with Singapore as the world’s most expensive cities to live, according to a survey by the Economist Intelligence Unit.

Hong Kong moved up three places globally to join Singapore, which has been the world’s most expensive place to live for the last five years. It is the first time that three cities have been tied for first place in the survey.

Paris, Singapore and Hong Kong are all 7 per cent more expensive to live than New York, the benchmark city. The Worldwide Cost of Living survey compares prices of 150 items in 133 cities. Asian cities make up four of the most expensive cities to live, and also four of the 10 least expensive. The report noted a convergence of prices among the world’s top 10 most expensive cities in 2018, while at the same an overall fall in the cost of living worldwide.

Chinese cities remained stable in the rankings, but Southeast Asian cities have become more expensive.

The EIU cited China’s effort to deal with private debt levels as the reason for an expected slowdown in consumption and growth over the next two years. The strength of a currency plays a role in cost of living, and renminbi devaluations could impact relative cost of living, as well as potential impacts from the US-China trade war.

Kuala Lumpur, while still relatively inexpensive at 88th place, rose 10 places in the latest survey.

The top 10 most expensive cities were split between Europe and Asia, with Osaka moving up six places to join Geneva as world’s fifth most expensive place to live.

Tel Aviv, the sole Middle Eastern city in the top 10 and Israel’s business capital, ranked 28th just five years ago but now ties with Los Angeles in tenth place for cost of living. The EIU report cited the high cost of owning a car as pushing up Tel Aviv’s ranking.

Weaker local currencies helped push down the relative cost of living in cities in Australia and New Zealand. The EIU said in its report that South Asian cities were prominent among the cheapest 30 cities in the world, and “continue to offer the best value for money in the region”. Among the bottom 10 cities are Bangalore, Chennai and India’s capital New Delhi.

The biggest drops in cost of living were reported by Istanbul, Turkey’s business capital, and Buenos Aires, capital of Argentina. Both cities fell 48 places to rank 120 and 125th respectively. Caracas, the capital of Venezuela, was ranked at the bottom of the survey, with Damascus, Syria just above it.
Source: South China Morning Post

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