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World’s most expensive cities to live in revealed – with London jumping up the list

Singapore has topped the list nine times over 11 years  (Getty Images/iStockphoto)
Singapore has topped the list nine times over 11 years (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Singapore and Zurich are the most expensive cities in the world to live in, according to a new report.

The Southeast Asia hub retains the spot it held last year, with Switzerland’s largest city jumping up from sixth place in 2022.

Singapore has led the pack nine times in 11 years, while Zurich returns to the summit after a three-year hiatus.

New York, which a year ago was joint top, has fallen into the second spot on par with Geneva, according to the latest edition of the Economist Intelligence Unit’s (EIU) Worldwide Cost of Living Report.

London finds itself outside of the top 10 in 12th place in the 173-strong list, jumping up the list from 28th last year, while Manchester is among the biggest rises, jumping 31 places to be the 42nd most expensive city in the world.

The rest of the top 10 is rounded out by Hong Kong, Los Angeles, Paris, Copenhagen, Tel Aviv and San Francisco.

Western Europe, which accounts for four of the top 10 most expensive cities, has seen “sticky inflation in groceries, clothing and personal care, along with appreciation of the euro and other local currencies in the region” which has “led them to rise up the rankings”, the report states.

At the other end of the scale, Damascus in Syria remains the cheapest city, followed by Tehran in Iran, Tripoli in Libya and Karachi in Pakistan.

The Russian cities of Moscow and St Petersburg experienced the biggest drop in the rankings as sanctions imposed after the full-scale invasion of Ukraine weakened the rouble.

The Worldwide Cost of Living Report is an annual study by EIU, the research and analysis division of The Economist Group.

Upasana Dutt, head of worldwide cost of living at EIU, said that the “the cost-of-living crisis is hardly over and price levels remain much above historical trends”.

“We expect inflation to continue to decelerate in 2024, as the lagged impact of interest-rate rises starts affecting economic activity, and in turn, consumer demand. But upside risks remain – further escalations of the Israel-Hamas war would drive up energy prices, while a greater than expected impact from El Niño would push up food prices even further.”

World’s most expensive cities in 2023

  1. Singapore

  2. Zurich, Switzerland

  3. Geneva, Switzerland

  4. New York, USA

  5. Hong Kong

  6. Los Angeles, USA

  7. Paris, France

  8. Copenhagen, Denmark

  9. Tel Aviv, Israel

  10. San Francisco, USA