The 2021 Worldwide Cost of Living report from the Economist Intelligence Unit has revealed that Tel Aviv is the most expensive city in the world, topping even Paris, Hong Kong and London. Jenny Southan reports

This year, the EIU tracked the cost of living in 173 international cities, comparing the costs of over 200 products and services across ten different categories in order to determine the cheapest and most expensive cities in the world.

According to the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), the Israeli city of Tel Aviv is now the most expensive on the planet when it comes to paying for everyday overheads such as rent, food and drink, recreation, tobacco, transport, clothing, utilities and petrol.

Compared with other cities, Tel Aviv is a notably expensive place to buy alcohol (second in that category), transport (also second), personal care items (fifth) and recreation (sixth).

Tel Aviv tops the rankings for the first time ever, climbing from fifth place last year, pushing Paris down into joint second-place with Singapore. London, meanwhile, is in 17th place.

The 2021 Worldwide Cost of Living report states that Tel Aviv topped the rankings this year, mainly because the Israeli currency, the shekel, has appreciated, making local costs more expensive when translated into US-dollar terms. Property prices (not included in the index calculation), have also risen, especially in residential areas.

Interestingly, Israel has also become the first country in the world to embark on a fourth Covid-19 vaccination campaign as part of efforts to stem rapidly rising infection rates caused by the Omicron variant, says The Guardian.

The EIU reports that on average, prices for goods and services have risen by 3.5% year-on-year, the highest inflation rate seen in the last five years.

Unsurprisingly, cost of living has been greatly impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic, which has pushed up prices in a number of cities. This increase is attributed to various factors, including supply-chain disruptions and changing consumer demand as a result of various lockdowns and restrictions.

Rome has seen the biggest drop in EIU rankings, falling from 32nd to 48th place, with a particularly sharp decline in its shopping basket and clothing categories.

As was the case in 2020, Tehran climbed the most in the EIU rankings, jumping from 79th to 29th. The reimposition of US sanctions on Iran has led to continued shortages of goods and rising import prices.

Most US cities have fallen in the rankings compared with last year, after the government responded to the covid-19 pandemic by injecting more money into the economy. This held down the value of the US dollar compared with European and Asian currencies. Unusually, the index value for the transport category is lower for US cities compared to the global average.

Damascus (Syria) and Tripoli (Libya) are among the cheapest cities in the world. Both face a number of economic and political challenges. Newcomers to the ranking include seven cities in the US and 11 in China.

The ten most expensive cities in the world in 2021

  1. Tel Aviv, Israel
  2. Paris, France
  3. Singapore, Singapore
  4. Zurich, Switzerland
  5. Hong Kong, China
  6. New York, USA
  7. Geneva, Switzerland
  8. Copenhagen, Denmark
  9. Los Angeles, USA
  10. Osaka, Japan

The ten cheapest cities in the world in 2021

  1. Damascus, Syria
  2. Tripoli, Libya
  3. Tashkent, Uzbekistan
  4. Tunis, Tunisia
  5. Almaty, Kazakhstan
  6. Karachi, Pakistan
  7. Ahmedabad, India
  8. Algiers, Algeria
  9. Buenos Aires, Argentina
  10. Lusaka, Zambia

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