Singapore still the most expensive place on the planet

Published:  22 Mar at 6 PM
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For the fourth year running, Singapore is rated as the world’s most expensive location for expat professionals.

The latest league table showing expat costs of living across major world locations has confirmed Singapore as the most expensive city for expatriates.The Economist Intelligence Unit’s study sees the Southeast Asian city state top the league for the fourth year in succession as well as noting 50 per cent of the world’s most pricey expat locations are now in Asia. However, in spite of its high ranking, Singapore offers good value in several categories, including domestic help, household goods and personal care services.

As regards the relative costs of food and drink, the city is on a par with Shanghai, and the study names Osaka, Tokyo and Seoul as the planet’s costliest cities for staple goods. Another example states a basket of groceries in South Korea’s capital can cost up to 50 per cent more than in New York. Singapore’s car-related expenses top those found anywhere else in the world, and shopaholics won’t be pleased to hear the city state is the second most expensive destination for fashion shopping.

It has to be admitted the study tends towards higher price levels in consumer goods and isn’t representative of Singapore households’ consumption norms. In addition, currency fluctuations can affect the average expat cost of living if wages are being paid in the home currency, and the survey is aimed at finance and human resources managers tasked with calculating expat relocation benefits.

Meanwhile, if you’re an expat millionaire and don’t fancy Singapore, those able to afford to live anywhere they please have a choice of fashionable locations where the top lifestyle is only possible for the very wealthy. A recently-released report cites Australia as a favourite, especially for the 11,000 millionaires who arrived there last year. The USA only attracted 10,000, Dubai saw 5,000 and the UK, not surprisingly, attracted just 3,000 mega-wealthy expats.

Australia’s popularity with millionaires from overseas, according to the report, has much to do with its success as a business hub for Asia Pacific’s emerging markets. Also mentioned was the belief that Oz is a safe destination only marginally affected by terrorism and the refugee crisis. Excellent heathcare is another attraction, as is the weather as well as the continent’s variety of scenery and its fun outdoor lifestyle.
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