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Singapore named world's most expensive city: Economist Intelligence Unit

The appreciation of the Singapore dollar has helped make Singapore the world's most expensive city, says a new survey.

Singapore is now ranked as the most expensive city in the world, according to new research published today by The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) in its Worldwide Cost of Living survey.

Price rises and a stronger currency mean that Singapore now has the "dubious" claim to the title of the world's most expensive city, according to the EIU report that compares the cost of living between 131 cities worldwide using New York as a base city.

Over the last decade a 40 percent currency appreciation, coupled with solid price inflation, has consistently pushed Singapore up the ranking. The city also has some structurally expensive items that skew the overall cost of living upwards. For example, car costs have very high related certificate of entitlement fees attached to them, which makes Singapore significantly more expensive than any other location when it comes to running a car. As a result, transport costs in Singapore are almost three times higher than in New York.

"Singapore's rise is partially attributable to the continued strength of the Singapore dollar, but the city has seen price rises too which have no doubt been compounded by a reliance on imports," said Jon Copestake, Editor of the report which looks at over 400 individual prices.

As a city-state with very few natural resources to speak of, Singapore is reliant on other countries for energy and water supplies, making it the third most expensive destination for utility costs. The proliferation of expensive malls and boutiques on Orchard Road also make Singapore the priciest place in the world in which to buy clothes.

Singapore's rise comes at the expense of Tokyo, traditionally the world's most expensive city, which has seen a slide in the valuation of the Yen, despite a return to inflation. The Japanese capital fell to joint 6th most expensive.

As well as Singapore and Tokyo, currency appreciation has cemented the position of Sydney (5th) and Melbourne (6th) in a top ten that is dominated by European and Asian/Australasian cities. Hong Kong is the 5th priciest city in Asia and 13th in the world.

Mumbai in India offers the best value for money and is joined among the cheapest locations by South Asian cities such as New Delhi, Karachi in Pakistan and Kathmandu in Nepal. Economic instability relating to the civil war and the collapse of the Syrian pound has placed Damascus among the world's cheapest cities, although local price inflation will have been impacted by supply issues.

A summary of the full report can be downloaded at: www.eiu.com/wcol2014

Andrew Batt, International Group Editor of PropertyGuru Group, wrote this story. To contact him about this or other stories email andrew@propertyguru.com.sg

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