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The most expensive cities to live in the world

Lianna Brinded
Head of Yahoo Finance UK
Public and private housing blocks are seen in Hong Kong. Photo: Reuters/Bobby Yip

Paris, Singapore, and Hong Kong all equally share the title of the world’s most expensive city, according to The Economist Intelligence Unit’s (EIU) 2019 Worldwide Cost of Living Survey.

The EIU looked at more than 50,000 individual prices of items in annual survey rounds conducted in March and September, which are then published in June and December. Researchers also surveyed a range of stores — from supermarkets to higher priced specialty outlets — to gather data. The final prices reflect the costs of 160 items, from food and clothing, to domestic help, transport, and utility bills. All prices are what customers are charged — not recommended retail prices or manufacturers’ costs.

The prices are then converted into US dollars using a main exchange rate and weighted in order to achieve comparative indices. Cities are compared to a base city — New York, US — which is set at 100. In total, data from 160 items across 133 cities were crunched.

The report found that the highest ranking locations were largely split between Asia and Europe. However, Paris continued to climb up the table, all the way to a joint first place finish alongside Singapore and Hong Kong.

The ten most expensive cities in the world. Table: EIU

“We note converging costs in traditionally more expensive cities like Paris, Singapore, Zurich, Geneva, Copenhagen, and Hong Kong. It is a testament to globalisation and the similarity of tastes and shopping patterns. Even in locations where shopping for groceries may be relatively cheaper, utilities or transportation prices drive up overall cost of living,” said Roxana Slavcheva, the editor of the survey.