World’s 20 Most Expensive Cities in 2016.
2015 was a volatile year for living costs. Falling commodity prices, currency devaluations and geopolitical uncertainty all contributed to a relative decrease in the cost of living for a number of cities according to a bi-annual pricing index from the Economist Intelligence Unit aimed at expats and business travellers. But a strong dollar saw all 16 of the survey’s US cities move up the ranking by at least 15 places, and New York now features among the world’s ten most expensive cities for the first time in 14 years. Singapore retains the top spot, but is 10% less expensive compared to New York than the previous year, while London has climbed six places to join four other European cities in the top ten.
At the other end of the ranking—notwithstanding the prevalence of South Asian cities (India and Pakistan account for five of the ten cheapest cities)—it is Zambia’s capital Lusaka that now offers the best value for money in the world. Despite rampant inflation, a devaluation of the Kwacha caused by falling copper prices has pushed the city’s cost of living down to just 41% of New York’s. Other low-cost cities could benefit travelling sports fans over the next couple of years. Falling commodity prices and exchange-rate revisions have caused Olympic Games host Rio de Janeiro to drop 52 places down the ranking, while visitors to Euro 2016 matches in Paris and Lyon will see a mild improvement in prices thanks to a weaker euro. But it is Russia, scheduled host of the 2018 FIFA World Cup, that has seen the biggest decrease over the last year, with St Petersburg and Moscow tumbling 51 and 63 places down the ranking respectively, reflecting a 40% decline in living costs over the previous year.
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