Singapore still the most expensive world city for expat life

Published:  11 Mar at 6 PM
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Even although prices in the tiny city state have been easing for a while, Singapore has kept its position as the world’s most expensive city.

The Economist Intelligence Unit’s 2016 survey of the cost of living in major world cities has confirmed Singapore’s place for the third year in succession as the world’s costliest place to live. The Southeast Asian metropolis headed up Zurich, Hong Kong, Geneva and Paris, with London coming in at sixth place and New York rated as seventh.

The survey compares the prices of over 160 items including utility bills, home help, transport, clothing, toiletries and, of course, the foods that expats love to splurge on. Comparisons are made between a total of 133 cities worldwide, with the common denominator being the working expat presence in each one. Unlike most popular surveys, the EUI focuses on cost-of living allowances offered by major international companies whose employees are required to work in overseas branches.

Widely used by human resources professionals in order to calculate the value of available compensation packages for employees sent overseas, it’s also of use to expatriates with hefty occupational pensions in deciding the best place for a comfortable retirement. Singapore’s position as the most expensive city comes in spite of a 10 per cent reduction in its overall cost of living over the past year.

The survey also noted that, due to a rise in the UK dollar, other currency movements and falling commodity and oil prices, costs worldwide have shown volatility, making some items in Singapore reasonable compared with other Southeast Asian countries. Groceries cost around the same as in New York and are far cheaper than in Tokyo and Seoul, but buying and running a car costs more than in any other major world city.
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