Zurich, Paris, Hong Kong tops the list as Covid-19 pandemic reshapes the world
The Covid-19 pandemic has revamped the list of the most expensive cities in the world, putting Hong Kong, Zurich, and Paris in the top three spots.
Singapore and Osaka, which were joint first in 2019, have slid down the rankings to fourth and fifth place respectively, the Worldwide Cost of Living (WCOL) annual report from the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) revealed on Wednesday.
The WCOL index examined the cost of living in 133 cities worldwide since the start of the year, amid the coronavirus pandemic.
How much money we spend and on what is being extensively reshaped by the coronavirus pandemic, reports The Economist Intelligence Unit.
Upasana Dutt, who oversees the Worldwide Cost of Living report at The Economist Intelligence Unit, says some of the currency weakness was because the survey took place in September, when the Americas were suffering acutely from the pandemic.
Cities in the Americas, Africa, and Eastern Europe became less costly over the year, while those in Western Europe became relatively more expensive, in part reflecting a rise in European currencies against the US dollar.
"The coronavirus pandemic has impacted spending habits all over the world, with the prices of essential goods proving more resilient than those deemed non-essential," Dutt said.
The WCOL report said prices in Singapore dropped because of so many foreign workers leaving the city amid the coronavirus pandemic, triggering low demand and deflation.
"In the past few years Singapore had maintained its position at the top of the table. That has, of course, changed this year," Dutt said.
Among 10 categories, tobacco and recreation – which includes consumer electronics – rose the most, while clothing costs fell.
Osaka also experienced similar trends as the Japanese government subsidized costs of amenities such as public transport, and consumer prices stagnated, the report said.
The largest price gains in US dollars were in Iran's capital Tehran, which climbed nearly 30 places, from 106th place to 79th position. According to the report, this is down to US sanctions stopping some imports, impacting the supply of goods.
Brazilian cities and São Paolo saw the biggest price drops, which reflects the rising poverty levels and weak currencies, the report showed. They sit equal at 119th place on the index.