We can add something else to the list of stuff Covid-19 has affected: the cost of living. It is surging around much of the world as the pandemic continues to wreak havoc with economies and supply chains. In fact, city folks have copped, on average, a 3.5 per cent year-on-year increase in their daily expenses, compared with just 1.9 per cent last year and 2.8 per cent in 2019 – the fastest rise in five years.

The twice yearly Worldwide Cost of Living (WCOL) report by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) was released this week, surveying the costs of products and services – everything from transport to groceries – in 173 cities around the world. The rankings are in and here's what we know.

Tel Aviv has landed the unenviable title of world’s most expensive city this year unseating the notoriously pricey French capital, Paris. Which jointly shared second spot with Singapore. Other cities in the top 10 were Hong Kong, New York, Geneva, Copenhagen, Los Angeles and Osaka.

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Thankfully none of our own cities made it into the top 10 this time, unlike previous years. Sydney did come in at 14, though, and Melbourne at 16 – outranking London, Shanghai and Amsterdam. They all scored about 80 in the WCOL index.

While Sydney and Melbourne may have out priced some major global metropolises like this year; ten years ago almost all of our capitals - including Darwin, Canberra and Brisbane, proved more expensive than New York, Moscow or Los Angeles.

Cities are measured against the base location of New York City, which has a score of 100. Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide each received a WCOL index above 60, making them about 40% cheaper than the Big Apple.

Italy’s capital, Rome, saw the most significant drop in the rankings. The Eternal City plummeted 16 places to 48 – with the famously fashionable Romans seeing a dramatic drop in the price of clothing. Damascus in Syria followed by Tripoli in Libya and Uzbekistan’s Tashkent are the cities with the world’s lowest costs of living. Tehran shot up an alarming 50 places to 29 thanks largely to the reimposition of US sanctions the report said.

The report found that despite most economies beginning to recover from the initial devastation of the pandemic, changes in our spending habits, supply-chain issues and dramatic currency exchange shifts linger and are all to blame for the rising cost of basically everything. The most rapid increase has been for transport, with petrol up an eye-watering 21 per cent on average across the globe.

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