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World's most expensive cities: Singapore grabs No. 1 spot

Environmental IssuesConservationNatural ResourcesSingaporeEnergy ResourcesNatural Resource IndustrySafeway Inc.

Although residents of Los Angeles and New York may complain about the high cost of living, the two cities can seem like a bargain compared with the truly wallet-squeezing metropolises of the world.

Singapore, the city-state in Southeast Asia, takes the top spot as the priciest city to live, according to a biannual survey from the Economist Intelligence Unit.

The survey calculates the cost of living for 131 metropolises around the world and compares price tags on hundreds of goods and services such as food, clothing and utilities.

Among the contributing factors for Singapore's position are inflation, high transportation expenses and a lack of natural resources.

"As a city-state with very few natural resources to speak of, Singapore is reliant on other countries for energy and water supplies," the report says, "making it the third-most expensive destination for utility costs."

The leader from the last survey, Tokyo, dropped to sixth thanks to a weaker currency. The Japanese city is tied with three other cities for that spot.

New York is the most expensive city in North America at 26th place (and is used by the EIU to compare the cost of living in other cities on the list), followed right behind by Los Angeles.

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Follow Shan Li on Twitter @ShanLi

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