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How Covid influenced the ranking of the most expensive cities in the world

Everyday life in Zurich, Switzerland on October 28, 2020

Piotr Piwowarski NurPhoto | Getty images

SINGAPORE – Zurich and Paris have replaced Singapore and Osaka in a recent report on the world’s most expensive cities. Earlier, the two Asian cities joined Hong Kong at the top of the rankings.

This is based on The Economist Intelligence Unit̵

7;s latest cost of living index, which shows how the coronavirus pandemic has affected the prices of goods and services in more than 130 cities since September 2020.

According to the report, the jump between Zurich and Paris is primarily due to the strengthening of the Swiss franc and the euro.

“The Covid-19 pandemic caused the US dollar to weaken as Western European and North Asian currencies strengthened against it, which in turn changed the prices of goods and services,” said Upasana Dutt, head of global spending on living at The EIU. New York is used as the main city in the index.

“Asian cities have traditionally dominated the rankings in recent years, but the pandemic has shifted the rankings of this edition.”

The report says that in Singapore, which is now in fourth place, prices are falling due to the eviction of foreign workers.

“As the country’s total population shrinks for the first time since 2003, demand is declining and deflation is occurring. Osaka is seeing similar trends, with consumer prices stagnating and the Japanese government subsidizing costs such as public transport.” Osaka shares fifth place with Tel Aviv.

In the last year, the prices of most goods and services have been “quite equal”, but some categories have been affected by the Covid-19 crisis, the EIU said.

Costs for basic products such as food and water remained “sustainable”, but low demand led to a sharp drop in clothing prices.

“Supply chain problems have also had a different impact on different goods, which has increased the price of high-demand products, such as computers in some cities,” the report said.

Dutt said similar trends could continue into 2021 as spending remains limited, putting pressure on prices.

Many consumers who care about prices will prioritize the cost of staples, home entertainment and faster internet access. “Items with big tickets, as well as clothes and leisure outside the home, will continue to fight.”

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