Worldwide Cost-of-Living 2023 Report

The Economist has released its comprehensive annual world cost-of-living report. It’s an insight into global consumer and commercial trends.

In 2023, inflation continued to be a major factor worldwide. Global prices increased by 7.4% during the calendar year. That’s on top of an 8.1% price increase in 2022.

Utility costs including energy actually moderated in 2023, with an overall inflation of 5.7%. But groceries and transport costs increased 8% and prices were passed straight onto consumers. Costs for food commodities and beverages are still 50% higher than they were in 2019, according to The Economist.

As for the city index, the world’s most expensive city continues to be Singapore, followed by Zurich, Geneva, New York and Hong Kong. San Francisco and LA were the other US cities at the top of the list, while Paris, Copenhagen and Tel Aviv rounded out the top 10.

Copenhagen was ranked #2 in the world for quality-of-life in The Economist’s rankings earlier last year. Zurich and Geneva also made the top 10.

Many years have seen Sydney rank in global top 10 most expensive cities. Its drop into the top 20 this year shows how widespread the inflation crisis is at present.

The Economist measures cities’ cost-of-living by its US dollar value. This led to falls for Chinese cities given the lower value of the yuan relative to the dollar in 2023.

Western and Central European cities have seen some of the biggest rises worldwide, as energy costs and stretched supply chains continue to harm the EU’s economic situation. Berlin, Manchester, Rotterdam and Stuttgart all became much more expensive over the course of 2023.

There is a newcomer to the lower end of the scale too. Buenos Aires is now the 10th cheapest city in the world, after widespread social unrest in the second half of 2023. It now places one spot above Chennai and two spots above Lagos. 

Damascus remains the cheapest city in the world and Caracas was excluded from the rankings after 450% inflation in 2023.

Photo of Copenhagen by @nickkarvounis and of Singapore harbour by @deadlyvyper via image sharing site Unsplash.

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