Singapore Tops Tokyo

Pivotfarm's picture

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Thank your lucky stars that you don’t live in some places around the world. If you think you are having a rough time getting by, finding enough money to make ends meet and you constantly talk over the increase in prices, then think again. You probably don’t live in one of the most expensive cities in the world.

According to a new survey that has just been carried out by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) it’s now Singapore that is the most expensive place to live in the world; that’s no saving race for the rest of us that thing that we are also actually living in the most expensive city in the world; It’s always in your own back yard that you are worried about how much things cost, never anywhere else. I wonder if there will ever be a limit to the cost of living or if the sky’s the limit. When do things stop getting more expensive? Even when things went pear-shaped after the financial bubble exploded, things still continued to get more expensive in the scramble to stop going under. We ended up with less money and higher prices.

Even in 2011, just three years after the 2008 financial crisis global food prices for example still remained very high. Despite the fact that they were not quite at the extreme record levels of 2008, they were gradually creeping higher, making the position of some in the global economy even more of a struggle. Lower demand should have, in theory, pushed prices down and a slow recovery should have brought about easier times for those that were already struggling to get by. But, the food-price crisis and the financial explosion of the stock market were very much linked to each other. While the housing bubble was expanding, the emerging economies and those that were dependent in Africa on commodity exports also fuelled the increase in food prices. The ensuing financial crisis meant that food stocks and production dropped dramatically in those commodity-producing countries and as a consequence prices increased. We can’t deal with the financial crisis and food-reform policies as separate entities. Nothing is separate these days, is it?

Where’s the limit to just how expensive things can get then? 
The Worldwide Cost of Living Survey for 2014 has just been published and it’s as follows:

• Paris
• Oslo
• Zurich
• Sydney
• Caracas
• Geneva
• Melbourne
• Tokyo
• Copenhagen

The majority of those cities come as no surprise to anyone of us. But, it’s interesting to note that despite the apparent woes of Asia and South America, they are the most present cities in the list. The French have always prided themselves on asking for a lot for a little and they are past masters at conspicuous consumption. The Swiss come as no surprise either in their bank-fuelled world of economics.

But, just a decade ago and Singapore was right down in 18th position. But, now, thanks to utility bills soaring out of control and the strength of the currency they have shot to the top.

Check out and compare how much it costs where you live in comparison with Singapore averages:

• Gas, Water and Electricity could cost an average of S$600 (US$472) per month 
• Internet works out to about S$50 (US$39.41) per month. 
• Mobile telephone connection will cost you S$100 (US$78.81) a month.
• Sending your kids to an international school will cost S$3, 000 (US$2,364.44) per month. 
• Local government school will set you back S$772 (US$608.45) per month. 
• Owning and running a car means paying out (before you actually get the car) a tax called the Certificate of Entitlement (COE) which stands at roughly S$57, 009 (US$44931.42). 
• An apartment in the city fringe will set you back about S$7, 000 per month (US$5517.02) in rent.

Singapore transport costs work out at something like three times more than in New York City for example. New York is the world’s 26th most-expensive city in the world these days, but it is still used as the base rate for comparison. The Japanese Yen fell by 20% last year and Tokyo was ousted from its number one position. Mumbai is the least expensive city in the world to live in according to the survey. That leaves plenty of room for it to grow, increase in price and rise to the dizzy heights of the Singapore-s and the Paris-es of this world.

Originally posted: Singapore Tops Tokyo


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Ban KKiller's picture

But...but...everyone says there is no inflation.

Just housing appreciation. Right?

Sword61's picture

Minimum wage in Perth is $17.00 Hour. I dont drink out often and got a surprise when I passed over $10 for a beer and was told I was 50c short. You can do quite a bit  better than $40 for a steak dinner but close to $35 would be the norm, Cant compare to Melbourne but Sydney prices are comparable to Perth. Travel to the North and rents can be $2,000 per week in some towns. Perth is about $450 week average

theliberalliberal's picture

what's worse is a coke is $5 for less than a can (ever see them pour in 3/4 of a can into a glass and not give you the rest of the can...espically red bull) so its like....500mL beer for $10.  300mL glass of coke for $5,  i wasnt planning on drinking tonight, but seems like I cant afford not too...Sometines it $5 for Pre-Mixed coke.  


Problem with rent is its $450 anywhere.  if you go another 20 min out of perth (so you are definately fidhting +1hr traffic to perth CBD) you get $10 off per week.  spend that shit easily on fuel/car maint/time in car.


Good old double peak hour in the morning too.  Peak hour,  and the 7am peak hour trying to avoid peak hour.


thankfully I just bit the bullet and overspent on a house 5km from town,  10min to work in outer light industrial area.  I value my time too much (cant read ZH in the car now can I?)  bought in 2009 so I always have my equity on paper not making it seam so rediculously overpriced.


wheels are coming off slowly.  Karratha rent has dropped big time.  Mate was renting his house out for $1650 only 6 months ago now can only get about $1000/week  (I sold my property there for $20k under market value for a quick sale as soon as i smelt the slow down.  everyone was like you could have got more....3 months later, it was worth $100k less - houses go for about 10x gross yearly rent so a 30% drop in rent is a 30% drop in value).

Forge Group as gone bankrupt trying to buy work.  Mate still waiting for last swing's pay (~$10k)

A few big jobs still going ahead, but lots of govt departments tightening belts,  Alcoa laying off another 1000 people over east, talk of a big round of redundancies at BHP also.

Another mate at SKM has seen heaps of lay-offs.  If designer's arent designing,  6 months time,  people wont be building will they?

conork's picture

Perth is most expensive city in Oz

kurt's picture

Looks like the Aussies are getting a rough scrub with a course brush down under.

Quentin Daniels's picture

Over the past 2 years, I've spent some time living in several Australian cities, and can definitely say that Sydney and Melbourne make that list primarily on the back of crazy housing costs.  Brisbane and Perth are more expensive in just about every other area.  How anyone on less than $60k a year lives in this country was beyond me until you look at the endlss stream of Government handouts (Americas Free Shit Army has nothing on this place - the minimum wage is over $20/hr, and people can earn $100k a year and still get welfare - and they're convinced they need it).  Coffee in Brisbane - $4.50 is typical.  Steak and chips for two plus a chicken nugget kids meal at a bowling club - don't expect much change from $100.

The thing is, I can see a reset coming here perhaps sooner than many think.  Over the past couple of months, there has been a sharp increase in radio and TV ads for bottom-feeding finance companies offering personal loans for 'debt consolidation', not to mention the mobs pimping part 9 debt agreements (one step away from personal bankruptcy).  I get a strong feeling that the credit cards that are paying these excessive prices are close to maxed-out, and something's going to have to give.

Aussiekiwi's picture

Absolutely, I have lived in Adelaide,Brisbane,Sydney,Melbourne and now Perth, I think Perth is more expensive to live than Melbourne or Sydney and the wages are lower unless you are a fly in gly out miner....traffic is bloody awful now too.

Canoe Driver's picture

The entire cost-of-living issue is driven by credit, and a big part of the problem is ordinary consumer credit, especially credit cards, which allow practically anyone to pay $600 a night for a hotel room, or $300 for a restaurant meal. There are some people who can afford such things on a cash basis, but not nearly enough to sustain current price levels worldwide. Reasonable restraints on consumer credit would bring most prices back down to earth. The idea that all price reductions are bad is ultimately going to kill the whole system. It can only be sustained now by virtue of enabling the same consumer to declare bankruptcy multiple times. Ultimately, this erodes the tax base and inflates government debt, because the BK losses are written down and the consumer is permanently impoverished, thereby swelling welfare roles, among other things. Therefore, the denouement must be in the implosion of government debt, which will likely come with a hyperinflation, followed hard upon by the mother of all depressions.

Unless, of course, we introduce reasonable restrictions on consumer debt. Nah, that'll never happen. Forget that.


More_sellers_than_buyers's picture

Your not looking at the bigger picture.  If you restrain consumer debt, traffic at all the restauarnts and hotels grinds to a halt.  This leads to all of the 20 dollar an hour guys getting fired and eventually the out of business sign.  It is a total reset an massive disruption.  Of coure is has to happen, but good luck finding a polotician who will do the right thing and take all of the blame because the masses are too stupid to know it had to happen.  Inflate away....its the only way...Zimbabwe here we all come

elwind45's picture

Surrender note from the front

Aussiekiwi's picture

Absolutely, living costs in Perth are unbelievable and constantly increasing, I gave up drinking so lost track of alcohols prices, went to dinner and bought a round of drinks for a small party of four and had stuff all back out of a hundred, I thought they had made a big mistake until I queried it....unbelievable.


Zgangsta's picture

"...that’s no saving race for the rest of us that thing that..."

Two spelling errors in the midst of a two semi-colon sentence?

Too painful to keep reading after that...

Richard Chesler's picture

Gas, Water and Electricity could cost an average of S$600 (US$472) per month.

Fucking amateurs have nothing on Commiefornia.

o2sd's picture

Singapore and Sydney, top 1 & 5 most expensive shitholes in the world.


theliberalliberal's picture

where the fuck is Perth on that list.


I've been to sydney, melbourne, paris, singapore and tokyo


all are CHEAP cheap compared to Perth.


cant get a pint for less than $10  (and that's shitty local beer, at a shitty establishment with shitty service).

Steak dinner (at a half decent but ot high end pub) - $40  (thousands of cows less than 1hr drive away)


my "aussie farmers direct" drop box had 34 items in Feb 2012  (box lid use to not fit on).  price has increased a dollar or two per drop,  but the real inflation is only 22 items in the box feb 2014.  Same "in season" fruit and veg.


House inflation along the same lines.  Overpriced crap.  Housing might be going up 7% a year on average,  but the real inflation comes from all these houses are on a subdivied block. half or a third of the size our parents grew up in.

300m2 house on a 200m2 block.  First floor - garage for mini minor.  Second floor - kitchen.  third floor toilet.  fourth floor bathroom, fifth floor bedroom, etc



americhinaman's picture

these lists are made using "expat" standards, whereby you drive a benz SUV for the fam, porsche for yourself, and live in a penthouse apartment in the most overpriced part of the city.  

i lived in singapore for 4 years, having just departed recently (so inflation since then is negligible).  i lived in a luxury beachfront apartment for about 2000 USD/m, with an olympic+ pool, 4 tennis courts, etc.  prepared hot meals at "hawker centers" cost less than USA mcdonalds meals (~2-5 USD).  public transportation is amongst the cheapest and most efficient in the world... cabs cost 1/4 the cost in NYC, subway goes to all major areas and is clean/fast, and buses hit any outlying areas... all at costs about 1/2 of the typical subway or bus system in the US.  only people with more money than they know what to do with, or businesses that depend on auto transit buy cars, because singapore taxes autos by 200-300% to discourage overcrowded roads and pollution.