In the 2023 results, Singapore and Zürich have overtaken New York City, which is in third place now, tied with the Swiss city of Geneva. Hong Kong is the second Asian city to be in the Top 5 this year. Tel Aviv in Israel is in the Top 10, but the data does not reflect the impact of the current war that began with the Hamas attack of October 7, 2023.
High cost of living is generally associated with high incomes, and this appears to be validated by the data on Singapore. A media release that accompanied the publishing of the EIU survey yesterday said, “Singapore continues to see high price levels across several categories. The city state has the world’s highest transport prices, owing to strict government controls on car numbers. It is also among the most expensive cities for clothing, groceries and alcohol, due to its success as a premier location for business investment.”
However, overall across Asia, price increases remained relatively moderate compared to other world regions, found the survey. “Four Chinese cities (Nanjing, Wuxi, Dalian, and Beijing) and two Japanese ones (Osaka and Tokyo) were among the biggest movers down the rankings this year,” said the media release.
Christmas 2022 in Singapore, where tourism is one of the drivers of the economy | Instagram/yiming.spyro
Two Indian cities, Ahmedabad and Chennai, and the Pakistani city of Karachi are in the bottom 10 of the 2023 rankings in this survey.
According to the EIU Worldwide Cost of Living survey 2023, on average, prices rose by 7.4 per cent year-on-year in local currency terms. Price growth slowed from the 8.1 per cent reported in the 2022 survey but remained significantly above the trend in 2017-21.
The survey reported, “Of the 10 categories in our price index, utility prices rose the most slowly over the past year, reflecting the waning impact of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2022. Grocery prices, however, continue to rise strongly.”
The global average has been calculated on the basis of data from 173 major cities, with the omission of Kyiv (Kiev), the capital of conflict-torn Ukraine, and Caracas, the capital of Venezuela, which is facing hyperinflation. Price increases for more than 200 commonly used goods and services were calculated to arrive at the global average in price rise.
Upasana Dutt, head of Worldwide Cost of Living at EIU, said, “The supply-side shocks that drove price increases in 2021-22 have reduced since China lifted its COVID-19 restrictions in late 2022, while the spike in energy prices seen after Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022 has also eased. Asia continues to see relatively low price increases on [an] average…. Despite upside risks, we expect inflation to decelerate further in 2024, easing price rises globally.”