As we enter what’s often the most expensive time of year for many of us, the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) has released its annual Worldwide Cost of Living report, ranking the world’s cities according to how pricey they are to live in. And it’s not good news for Australians – especially Sydneysiders.
In news that’s not surprising to those living in the harbour city, Sydney has been ranked the 10th most expensive place to live in the world – even more expensive than last year, when the Economist had Sydney in 14th position. It’s not particularly great news for other Australian cities either, with Melbourne ranked 15th most expensive place to live in the world, up from 16th last year, while Brisbane moved to 32 from 36.
There was only one Australian capital city that became less expensive in 2022, and that was Perth, dropping from 71 to 73. The report doesn’t tell us how Adelaide, Hobart, Darwin or Canberra fared.
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It’s worse news for Singaporeans and New Yorkers – both shared the number-one position for 2022. They were followed by Tel Aviv, Hong Kong, Los Angeles and then Zurich.
The report surveys the cost of products and services – everything from transport to groceries. It found that the rising cost of living was influenced by soaring energy prices, the war in Ukraine and ongoing Covid-19 restrictions in China, contributing to a doubling of inflation in major global cities.
In fact, prices have risen by an average 8.1 per cent in local-currency terms, the fastest rate for at least 20 years. On average, prices for gas and electricity have risen by 11 per cent (and as much as 29 per cent in Russia-reliant Western Europe), while the cost of a litre of petrol has risen by 22 per cent year on year. The Venezuelan capital of Caracas experienced the highest inflation rate, with prices surging by 132 per cent in a year.
At the other end of the list are Damascus, Tripoli and Tehran, whose weak economies and currencies (impacted by internal and regional strife, as well as global factors) made them the cheapest cities in the rankings. In contrast, Moscow and Saint Petersburg in Russia were the biggest upward movers, scaling the rankings by as much as 88 places – largely due to sanctions, capital controls and the conversion of European gas payments.