For the first time in the index's history, Tel Aviv has come out as the world's most expensive city. Photo/AFP
All over the world, it's been a tough year on wallets.
Supply-chain blockages and changing consumer demand have pushed up the cost of living in many of our biggest cities, according to new research published Wednesday, and inflation is the fastest recorded over the past five years.
One city has been experiencing more rapid change than most, jumping from fifth place to first in this year's Worldwide Cost of Living index released by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU).
The Israeli city of Tel Aviv topped the rankings for the first time, overtaking last year's leader Paris, which is now tied in second place with Singapore.
Previous list-topper Singapore fell one slot in 2021. Photo/AFP
The EIU attributes Tel Aviv's sharp rise on the index to increases to grocery and transport prices and the strength of the Israeli shekel against the US dollar.
The 2021 Worldwide Cost of Living index tracks the cost of living across 173 global cities -- 40 more than last year -- and compares the price of more than 200 everyday products and services.
Data for the survey, which has been carried out for more than three decades, is gathered by EIU's global team of researchers each March and September.
The index is benchmarked against prices in New York City, hence cities with currencies that are stronger against the US dollar are likely to appear higher in the rankings.
Zurich and Hong Kong are at Nos. four and five respectively, having held the top spot last year alongside Paris. New York, Geneva, Copenhagen, Los Angeles and Osaka round up the rest of the top 10.
Hong Kong was at the top of the leaderboard in 2020. Photo/AFP
The upper rankings continue to be dominated by European and developed Asian cities. The lowest-ranking cities are mainly in the Middle East, Africa and less wealthy parts of Asia.
The EIU reports that, on average, prices for the goods and services covered by the index have risen by 3.5% year on year in local-currency terms, compared with an increase of just 1.9% this time last year.
Those much-reported global supply-chain problems have contributed to price rises and the Covid-19 pandemic and social restrictions are still affecting production and trade around the world. With a new coronavirus variant currently causing widespread alarm, these issues won't be going away in a hurry.
Rising oil prices drove a 21% increase in the price of unleaded petrol, reports the EIU, but there were also big price hikes in the recreation, tobacco and personal care categories.
The highest-rising city in 2021 was the Iranian city of Tehran, which jumped 50 places from No.79 to No.29 as US sanctions resulted in shortages and higher prices.
The Syrian city of Damascus once again ranks as the cheapest city in the world, as its war-torn economy continues to struggle. Damascus and Tehran suffered from very high inflation in 2021, as did Caracas in Venezuela and Buenos Aires in Argentina.
1. Tel Aviv, Israel 以色列特拉维夫
2. (tie) Paris, France （并列第二）法国巴黎
2. (tie) Singapore （并列第二）新加坡
4. Zurich, Switzerland 瑞士苏黎世
5. Hong Kong, China 中国香港
6. New York City, New York 纽约
7. Geneva, Switzerland 瑞士日内瓦
8. Copenhagen, Denmark 丹麦哥本哈根
9. Los Angeles, California 美国加州洛杉矶
10. Osaka, Japan 日本大阪
11. Oslo, Norway 挪威奥斯陆
12. Seoul, South Korea 韩国首尔
13. Tokyo, Japan 日本东京
14. (tie) Vienna, Austria （并列第十四）奥地利维也纳
14. (tie) Sydney, Australia （并列第十四）澳大利亚悉尼
16. Melbourne, Australia 澳大利亚墨尔本
17. (tie) Helsinki, Finland （并列第十七）芬兰赫尔辛基
17. (tie) London, UK （并列第十七）英国伦敦
19. (tie) Dublin, Ireland （并列第十九）爱尔兰都柏林
19. (tie) Frankfurt, Germany（并列第十九）德国法兰克福
19. (tie) Shanghai, China（并列第十九）中国上海