World

Singapore, Osaka no longer top list of costliest cities: Survey

LONDON: Singapore and Osaka have slipped from their joint top spot as this year's costliest cities worldwide.

Paris and Zurich have joined Hong Kong to take top spot after the coronavirus pandemic weakened the US dollar, a survey published yesterday showed.

"The movement of Paris and Zurich to join Hong Kong at the top spot was spurred on by the rise of the euro and Swiss franc against the US dollar, as well as the comparative decline in the cost of living in the two Asian cities that previously sat at the top of the table," The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) said in its Worldwide Cost of Living 2020 report.

The pandemic's effect on the dollar was however the biggest factor for places switching, the financial research group noted.

"The Covid-19 pandemic has caused the US dollar to weaken while western European and north Asian currencies have strengthened against it, which in turn has shifted prices for goods and services," said Ms Upasana Dutt, head of worldwide cost of living at the EIU.

The report also noted that prices in Singapore fell on an exodus of foreign workers.

"With the city state's overall population contracting for the first time since 2003, demand has declined, and deflation has set in," the report said.

"Osaka has seen similar trends, with consumer prices stagnating and the Japanese government subsidising costs such as public transport."

The biggest mover was Teheran, which jumped 27 places on US sanctions, the report said.

New York, the city the index is benchmarked against, and Los Angeles both fell in the rankings.

The Big Apple fell one spot to joint seventh with Geneva, and Los Angeles dropped to ninth - equal with Copenhagen. - AFP

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