The Cost of Living

Every year, the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) releases the Worldwide Cost of Living Report. This survey compares the prices of 160 goods and services from 133 cities in the world, including costs related to food, drink, clothing, housing, and personal care.

Half of the most expensive cities are located in Asia, with Singapore in the first position followed closely by Hong Kong, Tokyo, Osaka, and Seoul. According to Simon Baptist, Regional Director for Asia at the EIU, the main drivers of the cost of living in these countries are related to exchange rate, government policies, and commodity prices. Asian currencies are expected to have a good 2017 and commodity prices estimates seem to indicate a rebound from several years of decline, affecting especially Asian markets where basic goods are a big part of shopping baskets.

The rest of the top ten most expensive cities are located in Europe (Zurich, Paris, Geneva and Copenhagen) and in the U.S (New York). However, in recent years, European and American cities have gradually lost their position in the ranking. Ten years ago, eight of the ten most expensive places were European cities.

If you have the opportunity to visit Asia you might be able to find not only the most expensive cities in the world but also the cheapest ones. Almaty, Kazakhstan, was found to be the cheapest city to live in this year, followed by Lagos, Nigeria and Bangalore, India. Moreover, some of this cities are getting cheaper every year, as it is the case with Almaty and Lagos, which registered an index closest to 40.

A useful advice for travelers might be to consider cities that have seen a reduction in their cost of living in comparison to last year and avoid those who have moved up the ranking. The places with the biggest declines in their index are Manchester, Buenos Aires, and London. The impact of Brexit in the depreciation of the pound has played a large role in reducing the cost of living in these English cities, according to The Economist. London, for example, registered its lower cost of living in the last 20 years. What cities should travelers avoid if they want to maximize their funds? Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, and Wellington are among the cities with increased costs of living this year.


Daniela Oliva

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