The Economist Intelligence Unit (The EIU), a research and analysis division of The Economist Group, has released a report of the global cost of living in 2020. Three cities share the top spot as the world’s most expensive to live in. Like last year, Hong Kong and Singapore continue to occupy two of those places. However, this year a Japanese city Osaka climbed three places to join Hong Kong and Singapore at the top. Osaka replaces Paris, which drops down to the 5th place, equal with another European city, Switzerland’s Zurich.
Elsewhere, as with Osaka, a strengthening of the yen led Japan’s capital, Tokyo, to rise from 13th to 8th. Higher prices in two US cities, New York (4th) and Los Angeles (8th), were influenced by a combination of strong local currency and firm domestic demand. This drove up prices for clothing and domestic help. Tel Aviv (Israel), the only Middle Eastern city in the top ten, rose from 10th to 7th, with transport costs such as the price of owning a car also continuing to rise.
In previous years, eurozone cities have typically moved up and down the index in tandem, and often in contrast to non-euro area European cities. However, this time there is a much clearer trend across all European cities. Modest domestic demand and weak global energy prices have kept inflationary pressures subdued across Europe in the past year. Of the 37 European cities surveyed, the index scores in all but four—Moscow, Saint Petersburg, Kiev and Istanbul—have fallen; 31 of them experiencing a fall in overall rank. In addition to Paris becoming comparatively less expensive, Geneva, fell from 5th to 10th place. Less expensive living in Paris? How wonderful!