Zurich and Singapore - world's most expensive cities

The world’s most expensive cities

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The cost-of-living crisis which started in 2022 may have slowed slightly but western Europe accounts for 4 of the top 10 world’s most expensive cities. Milan is Italy’s highest placed city with a ranking of 80.

According to The Economist’s sister company EIU, the results of the Worldwide Cost of Living Survey confirms inflation remains high worldwide. EIU tracked the prices of 200 products and services which showed an increase of 7.4% in the last year. This is down slightly from 2022’s 8.1%, but is considerably higher than the 5 year average of 2.9%.

Top 10 of the world’s most expensive cities

In 2022, America’s New York city topped the list, now it sits in joint third place with Geneva. Top of the list in joint first place are Zurich and Singapore.

These entrants are not surprising as they are perennially hogging spots in the top 10. In fact, Singapore has taken top spot for 9 of the past 11 years.

Western European cities, Milan included, take around half of the top 20 spots. This is down to a number of factors. First is rising prices. Another reason is the European Central Bank (ECB) raised interest rates six times in 2023. The ECB’s aim was to curb inflation, it has affected this rating as the euro effectively appreciated by 7% against the US dollar, the central currency used for this rating.

Top and Bottom 10 of World’s Most Expensive Cities list compiled by EIU

Where do Italian cities feature?

The benchmark for the 2023 world’s most expensive cities ranking is last year’s number 1 – New York.

Based against that Milan came in with a rating of 80, Rome was just above 70.

In the EIU summary report, the organisation states, “Prices and inflation for each category in our survey differ markedly by geography. Although western European cities were among the most expensive for recreation, transport, household goods and personal care, US cities rank higher for utilities, domestic help and tobacco.”

The cost-of-living rating would have been helped by the fact the Italian economy did fairly well in 2023. In The Economist’s look at which country’s economy did best in 2023, Italy came in a respectable 17th place.

How did Italy’s economy fare in 2023?

Whilst behind the western European countries of Greece (best 2023 economy), Spain, Portugal, Poland, Luxembourg, Denmark and Switzerland, Italy out played the big guns of France (19th) and Germany (27th).

Meloni’s fanfare of Italy being the most reliable EU economy is not quite right, however the Belle Paese hasn’t done badly.

Core prices saw an increase of 3.5%, there was a slight increase in GDP of 0.3%, and employment rose by 1.4%.

Overall, Italy has done comparatively well economically in 2023.

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