The inflated cost of car ownership in Singapore means the city-state has been labelled the world’s most expensive place to live, for a fifth year in a row.
Meanwhile, Tokyo and New York did not make the top 10 in the annual list by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU).
A basic car in Singapore can cost US$75,000 as part of an enlightened policy to prioritise public transport and tackle congestion and pollution.
The study might have been more instructive if it had listed living costs for Singaporean residents with no desire to own a car.
Paris and Zurich came joint second, with Hong Kong fourth and Oslo fifth.
Seoul and Geneva shared sixth place above Copenhagen, Tel Aviv and Sydney.
Tokyo and Osaka were edged out by low inflation.
While factors like home help and food in Singapore were relatively cheap, the Lion City “remains the most expensive place in the world to buy and run a car”, EIU said.
Singapore avoids the congestion that blocks many Asean cities by controlling vehicle ownership through a quota system under which a buyer must pay for a certificate of entitlement. These cost around US$30,500, in addition to the vehicle’s price.
Paris is the only eurozone city among the top 10 most expensive even as the euro strengthened. The EIU said it was “structurally extremely expensive to live in, with only alcohol, transport and tobacco offering value for money compared with other European cities”.
East Asian cities tend to have more expensive household shopping, while European cities are more costly for household, personal care, recreation and entertainment, the EIU said.
South Asian cities including Bangalore, Chennai, Karachi and Delhi were listed as some of the cheapest urban areas.
The study, bizarrely, lists the crisis-hit cities of Damascus and Caracas as the world’s “cheapest”, suggesting the indices behind the list might be entirely bogus.
Currency fluctuations explain some changes in the rankings, with the falling dollar keeping US cities out of the top 10.
The US dollar fell against all G-10 currencies last year, with the euro rising more than 14 per cent.
Meanwhile, Singaporean non-oil domestic exports (NODX) declined by 5.9 per cent over the year in February, the International Enterprise trade agency reported.
A 4.4-per-cent increase was predicted by a Reuters poll.
Exports in February showed the biggest on-year decline since October 2016, when exports slumped 14 per cent, Reuters reported.
The decline should be seen within the context of a 12.9-per-cent expansion in January and growth through most of last year.
Electronic exports, on a year-on-year basis, fell by 12.3 per cent last month, following the 3.9-per-cent drop in January.
Singapore does not face the congestion of other large Asean cities. Picture credit: Pixabay