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The most expensive city in the world? That would be Zurich

A loaf of sliced white bread costs US$6.15 in the Swiss city.

Image: Joe Giddens/EMPICS Sport

ZURICH IS THE most expensive city in the world, surpassing Tokyo for the first time in at least 20 years.

According to the latest Worldwide Cost of Living Survey, the Swiss city pushed up four places to overtake Tokyo which remains in second place.

Fellow Swiss city Geneva came in third most expensive after a 30 percentage point rise in the cost of living.

The authors of the bi-annual report said both Japan and Switzerland have seen strong currency movements over the last few years which have made them relatively more expensive.

This has become especially true of Switzerland in the last year, where investors looking for a haven currency outside the beleaguered eurozone have invested heavily in the Swiss franc, prompting an unprecedented move by the Swiss government to peg the Swiss franc to the euro to keep the currency competitive.”

Currency movements in Australia also explain the presence of both Sydney and Melbourne in the list of top ten most expensive cities to live.

The cost of bread, petrol and rice are just some of the 160 products used as indicators for the survey. A loaf of bread? That will be US$6.15 in Zurich, while a kilo of rice will be $7.76 in Tokyo.

The price of a litre of petrol varies hugely from city to city. In its breakdown, the EIU shows that it is $2.17 in Paris but only $0.96 in Moscow.

Despite eurozone weaknesses, western Europe still accounts for 24 of the most expensive cities in the top 50, with 14 hailing from Asia.

The cheapest cities in the ranking are dominated by Asian and Middle Eastern cities. The use of price controls and the pegging of currencies to the US dollar keeps Middle Eastern cities on the list, while Asian cities have a more structural basis. Cheap labour and land costs make India and Pakistan incredibly attractive to those bargain hungry visitors or investors willing to brave some of the security risks that accompany such low prices.

The TOP 10 most expensive cities:

  1. Zurich, Switzerland
  2. Tokyo, Japan
  3. Geneva, Switzerland
  4. Osaka Kobe, Japan
  5. Oslo, Norway
  6. Paris, France
  7. Sydney, Australia
  8. Melbourne, Australia
  9. Singapore
  10. Frankfurt, Germany

The 10 LEAST expensive cities:

  1. Muscat, Oman
  2. Dhaka, Bangladesh
  3. Algiers, Algeria
  4. Kathmandu, Nepal
  5. Panama City, Panama
  6. Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
  7. New Delhi, India
  8. Tehran, Iran
  9. Mumbai, India
  10. Karachi, Pakistan

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