2nd most expensive city

Aug 21, 2009
2nd most expensive city <!–10 min–>

Hong Kong No. 3 as rent was excluded; S’pore moves up to 24th globally

By Francis Chan
In another survey released last month, Singapore jumped three spots to become the 10th most expensive city in the world for expatriates. — ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN

SINGAPORE is the No.2 most expensive Asian city to live in, with only famously pricey Tokyo ahead in the rankings, according to a study by Swiss bank UBS.


UBS assessed the purchasing power of residents in 73 cities and compared prices of a standardised basket of 122 goods and services, excluding rents.

The Asian top three were no surprise although Hong Kong usually emerges as more expensive in such surveys; but not this time as UBS discounted rent. Rent is traditionally higher in Hong Kong and would have been enough to send the city into second spot in Asia.

On the global league table, Tokyo was the fifth most expensive city while Singapore was 24th – up from the 32nd spot in 2006, the last time UBS conducted a similar study. Kuala Lumpur, Manila, New Delhi and Mumbai propped up the table as cities with the lowest prices.

Scandinavian cities like Oslo, Zurich, Copenhagen, Geneva and traditional wallet-buster New York came in tops as the world’s most expensive cities.

Employees in Tokyo earn the highest wages in Asia, making almost double the amount their counterparts earn here. Workers in Manila, Jakarta and Mumbai earn the lowest wages.

However, Asia remains home to some of the world’s priciest cities and nowhere is the spread between most expensive and cheapest more pronounced, said UBS.

The study also found that people worked an average of 1,902 hours a year in the cities surveyed. Workers in Asian and Middle Eastern cities slogged for the longest hours, averaging 2,119 and 2,063 hours each year respectively.

The lucky people in the French cities of Lyon and Paris spend the least amount of time at work a year: just 1,582 and 1,594 hours respectively.

In another survey released last month, Singapore jumped three spots to become the 10th most expensive city in the world for expatriates. However, that survey – conducted by Mercer, which also studied items such as food, housing, transport and entertainment costs – suggested that Singapore had not become more expensive; instead, other cities had become cheaper places to live in.



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