LONDON: Tel Aviv, the capital of Israel, has won the unenviable title of the world’s most expensive city to live in, according to a newly released biannual report by the Economist Intelligence Unit.
Tel Aviv, Paris, Hong Kong, and Zurich top the list as Covid-19-induced supply chain disruptions push up living costs.
A new survey finds Tel Aviv in Israel ranks as the world’s most expensive city as a result of its soaring currency and rising prices for food and transportation, according to an Economist Intelligence Unit survey.
The city jumped to the top of the list, from fifth place last year, for the first time ever, the EIU’s December 2021 worldwide cost of living index shows.
Overall, top rankings are dominated by European and developed Asian cities, while North American and Chinese cities remain moderately priced, according to the survey, which compares the prices of more than 200 products and services in 173 cities around the world. The index is primarily used by companies to negotiate compensation packages when relocating staff.
According to the EIU, Tel Aviv climbed up the rankings due to the rise in the Israeli currency, the shekel, “buoyed against the [US] dollar by Israel’s successful Covid-19 vaccine rollout,” which was one of the quickest in the world. The Israeli shekel was up 4% against the US dollar year-to-date early last month, which prompted prices on nearly one-tenth of goods to surge. Food and transportation costs were hit the hardest.
Last year’s leader – Paris – slipped to second, closely followed by Singapore. Among other cities in the most expensive top, 10 are, in succession, Zurich, Hong Kong, New York, Geneva, Copenhagen, Los Angeles, and Osaka. Rome dropped the furthest in the rankings, amid a decline in prices for food and clothing.
The fastest-rising city is the Iranian capital, Tehran, which jumped 50 places to number 29, amid shortages and price increases due to US sanctions. Damascus, Syria was ranked the least expensive city in the survey.
Overall, the EIU survey shows that supply-chain bottlenecks, changes in consumer demand, and swings in currency exchange rates over the past year have increased the cost of living in many of the world’s largest cities, and analysts expect prices to rise further in the coming year. The largest increase was recorded in transportation, with the average price of gasoline per liter up by 21%.
Also, according to EIU figures, the inflation rate of the prices it tracked is currently the fastest recorded in the past five years, surging from 1.9% in 2020 to 3.5 percent year-on-year as of September 2021.
The EIU’s survey assessed the cost of living across 173 global cities and compared the prices of over 200 everyday products and services.
Meanwhile, Rome registered the biggest drop in the rankings, sliding to 48th place from 32, with a particularly sharp price decline in its shopping basket and clothing categories. Bangkok and Lima are the second-biggest movers down the index rankings, with significant declines in all categories, the EIU said.