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Singapore remains the most expensive city in the world for the fifth consecutive year, followed by Paris and Zurich. The report builds its ranking by comparing cities to New York City, which has an index of 100.
Asia now hosts three out of the 10 most expensive cities in the world, down from five one year ago, as Japan's Tokyo and Osaka were pushed out of the top by the country's low inflation.
"The Worldwide Cost of Living survey does have an global focus in terms of comparing cities around the world". The Japanese capital dropped seven places to 11th over the past year. Hong Kong, last year's second-most expensive city, slipped to fourth place.
Pricey perennials Tokyo and NY did not even make the top 10 in the annual list by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), beaten out by Paris, Zurich (joint second) Hong Kong (fourth) and Oslo (fifth).
As the survey's authors admit, currency fluctuations are a major driver of shifts in scores and ranking. The weakening dollar meant no American city was among the top ten despite a rise in the relative cost of living in the US over recent years. The report named NY and Los Angeles as the 13th and 14th costliest, down from ninth and 11th position a year ago.
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Despite some perks to domestic life in Singapore - home help is cheap - the former British colony "remains the most expensive place in the world to buy and run a vehicle", EIU said.
Tel Aviv was the sole Middle East metropolis among the top 10.
The price of groceries in Seoul is 50 percent higher than in NY and bread in particular is more expensive than in other countries, according to the report.
"Despite topping the ranking, Singapore still offers relative value in some categories, especially compared with its regional peers". Tel Aviv is also the second most expensive city in the survey in which to buy alcohol.
The report noted that Britain's cities are at their cheapest level internationally in more than two decades, in part due to economic uncertainty following the 2016 Brexit vote.
War-wracked Damascus, the troubled Venezuelan capital Caracas, Lagos in Nigeria and the Pakistani city of Karachi are among the world's cheapest cities, the survey showed.