Singapore has been dubbed as the most expensive major city in the world while Almaty in Kazakhstan is the cheapest, according to an extensive annual study of prices conducted by The Economist Intelligence Unit's Worldwide Cost of Living Survey. The unit assessed more than 150 different purchases in 133 cities around the world to determine the ideal destinations for budget travelers.
The top on the list were mostly cities in the Far East and Western Europe. Singapore, which has been on top of the chart for four consecutive years, is followed by Hong Kong, while Zurich and two Japanese cities - Tokyo and Osaka - take the third, fourth and fifth. Seoul, Geneva, Paris, and Copenhagen are also categorized in the top 10.
Almaty beat Lagos in Nigeria and becomes the world's cheapest city. India is also looking good for travelers, with choices of Bangalore, Chennai, Mumbai and New Delhi all among the bottom 10. After Almaty, Bucharest, Kiev and St Petersburg offer the most affordable prices.
The Brazilian city of Sao Paulo improved 29 places in the rankings, from 107th to 78th. At the same time, Rio de Janeiro, Wellington, Istanbul, Moscow, and Reykjavik were also among the biggest risers.
"Despite being the most expensive city, Singapore still offers value in some categories," says the report. "For categories such as personal care, household goods, and domestic help, Singapore remains significantly affordable than its peers, although it remains the most expensive place in the world to buy and run a car, as well as the second-priciest destination for clothing.
"Although recent years have seen the rise of relative cost of living in US cities, the latest ranking showed a fall for all but two (San Francisco and Lexington) of the 16 cities surveyed," it adds.
Meanwhile, the rise in the relative cost of living in Seoul continues which was ranked as low as 50th just seven years ago, now placed at sixth place.