Singapore is immovable. This city-state, where a kilo of bread is worth an average of 3.4 dollars (2.99 euros at the current rate) and a haircut for women is around 96 dollars (84.5 euros), heads one more year the list of the most expensive cities in the world to live if you pay with dollars, prepared by the Intelligence Unit of The Economist in your report Worldwide Cost of Living 2019. But, unlike the previous editions, this time shares title with Paris and Hong Kong, which have climbed positions and have reached the until now undisputed leader of the classification.
It is the first time in the history of the report that three cities are tied at the top of the list, which reflects that the large cities of Asia and Europe are the most expensive on the planet. At the other end of the ranking, the cheapest ones, are Caracas (Venezuela), Damascus (Syria) and Tashkent (Uzbekistan). The reference that uses this ranking is always the dollar, which makes the strength of this currency (added to the debacle experienced by local currencies in many cases) is key in the face or cheap that is a city when the products are paid and services with the green ticket.
The report of The Economist It began to be done more than 30 years ago, it has a biennial character and it analyzes the cost of living in 133 cities. Designed to guide companies when calculating fees for your expatriate employees or on a business trip, allows to compare more than 400 prices of 160 products and services such as food, clothing, basic supplies, transportation, leisure or housing, among other aspects. The comparison is made using an index that New York takes as a reference city, with a value of 100.
In 2018, Three of the five most expensive cities in the world were in Europe. Singapore, Paris and Hong Kong were 7% more expensive than New York, with 107 points. In fourth place is the largest city in Switzerland, Zurich (index 106), which has dropped two positions compared to the previous edition, followed by Geneva and Osaka (101), in Japan, which has climbed six places. Seoul, Copenhagen and New York are tied with the 100 index. top ten it is completed by Tel Aviv and Los Angeles, with 99 points.
In Asia, on the other hand, the most expensive cities coexist with the cities with the most affordable prices on the globe. Among the latter are New Delhi (index 43), the Indian Madras (41) and Bangalore (39) or Karachi (40), in Pakistan. Among the 10 least expensive cities in the world there are also two Latin American cities -Buenos Aires in position seven and an index of 41, after losing 25 positions since the previous edition and Caracas, the cheapest in absolute terms, with index 15-, and only one African: Lagos, in Nigeria (40).
The index prepared by the Intelligence Unit of The Economist uses as base New York, at whose cost of living it allocates 100 points. From there, place the other cities, according to your score for the cost of services such as a haircut or a loaf of bread. The reference, always, is in dollars, so the currency exchange influences a lot.
1 2 and 3. Singapore, Paris, Hong Kong (tied). 107 points
Four. Zurich 104 points
5 and 6. Geneva and Osaka (tied). 101 points
7, 8 and 9. Seoul, Copenhagen, New York (tied). 100 points
10 and 11. Tel Aviv and Los Angeles. 99 points
The exchange rate
The countries that have registered an appreciation of your currency, like the United States, have seen their cities climb positions in the list. On the contrary, the cities that have suffered the effects of devaluations and inflation have fallen in the classification. Although the euro made gains against the dollar in 2018, the economic momentum in the Old Continent is slowing down, which meant that only one city in the Eurozone, Paris, was among the top 10 most expensive in the world after climbing six positions. The economic problems, the weakness of the currency or the fall of prices, on the contrary, have dragged the cities of Argentina, Brazil, Turkey and Venezuela to the bottom of the list.
Caracas deserves however a separate mention: in a country devoured by hyperinflation and in full political turmoil, the cost of living has been fluctuating from one extreme to the other for expatriate workers. Last year, after registering inflation close to 1,000,000%, the Government of Nicolás Maduro launched a new currency, that continues coexisting with a wide black market where to exchange currencies at more advantageous prices.
Asia, more expensive for food and Europe, for housing
The average cost of living index has fallen compared to the previous year, up to 69% compared to 73% of the previous edition based on New York prices. A year ago, the index was 82%, and 89% 10, the report said. In general, Asian cities are the most expensive to buy: up to $ 13.59 a kilo of bread in Seoul and 5.2 in Osaka. The European ones, on the contrary, have more prohibitive prices in terms of housing, leisure or personal care.
Fluctuations in currencies have been one of the main causes of the ups and downs of cities on the list. Turkey was the country that lost more positions, 48, together with Buenos Aires, until falling to the 128th position because of several factors that were presented at the same time, in particular the strong devaluation of the Turkish lira. Other cities, such as Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria, experienced the opposite effect: they climbed 29 positions.