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10 Most Expensive Cities in the World

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Economist Intelligence Unit’s semiannual worldwide cost-of-living survey, released Thursday, shows that prices rose by an average of 7.4% in local-currency terms over the past year in the world’s major cities. This compares with the 8.1% price growth recorded last year, as supply-chain disruptions have eased and interest rates have risen, but is still significantly above the trend in 2017–21.

The new data set, compiled between Aug. 14 and Sept. 11, comprises more than 50,000 prices on some 200 specified products and services. EIU economists convert price data into a central currency (the U.S. dollar), using the prevailing exchange rate and weighting to achieve comparative indices. For the purposes of the latest report, they compared all cities with a base city, New York, which has an index score of 100.

Of  the 10 categories in EIU’s price index, utility prices rose the most slowly over the past year, as the repercussions from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2022 waned. Grocery prices, however, continued to rise strongly.

Several Western European cities pushed to the top of EIU’s rankings of the world’s most expensive cities because of sticky inflation in groceries, clothing and personal care and appreciation of the euro and other local currencies.

The Mexican cities of Santiago de Querétaro and Aguascalientes were the biggest movers up the rankings, rising 10 points each, as the peso strengthened against the U.S. dollar on the back of interest-rate rises and strong inward investment.

Chinese cities fell in the rankings, with four cities on EIU’s list of biggest downward movers amid slow post-pandemic economic recovery, subdued consumer demand and currency depreciation: Nanjing and Wuxi dropped 31 points each, and Beijing and Dailan each fell 26 points. Russian cities Moscow and St. Petersburg experienced the biggest drop in the rankings as sanctions weakened the ruble, tumbling 49 and 45 points.

EIU researchers found the highest inflation in Caracas, Venezuela, where prices have risen by 450% since last year. They continue to exclude the city from EIU’s global inflation average to avoid skewing the calculations.

See the accompanying gallery for the world’s 10 most expensive cities. Data points on monthly expenses and how each city compares with New York come from Numbeo’s Cost of Living by City 2023 Mid-Year. We used this data to break ties in the EIU ranking.