Zurich is the world's second most expensive city

An aerial view of the city from Jama Masjid in New Delhi

An aerial view of the city from Jama Masjid in New Delhi

Three Indian cities - New Delhi, Bengaluru and Chennai - are among the cheapest cities in the world, according to an Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) survey, that named Singapore as the most expensive city.

In the rest of Asia, Hong Kong and Sydney join Singapore and Seoul in the top ten. In terms of food and drink, the cost of living in Singapore is on a par with that of Shanghai in China. Tel Aviv is also the second most expensive city in the survey in which to buy alcohol.

But the Bangladesh capital is still the 72nd most expensive city relative to others, and more expensive than Bangalore, Chennai, Karachi and New Delhi in South Asia.

Singapore has avoided Asia's massive traffic jams by controlling vehicle ownership through a quota system under which a buyer must pay for a Certificate of Entitlement - now almost Sg$40,000 (RM120,000) - on top of the vehicle's actual price.

Bengaluru, despite being India's information technology hub and home to a thriving set of software engineers, ranked at 129 in the survey and has managed to earn the title of the cheapest city in the country.

Switzerland's biggest city Zurich is the second most expensive city in the world, with Singapore the priciest, an annual cost-of-living survey revealed on Thursday.

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"Western European cities dominate the top of the ranking once more". Low inflation has pushed Tokyo and Osaka out of the top ten in the cost of living ranking covering 133 cities worldwide. Three Indian cities are among cheapest in the world.

This year it is Syria's capital, Damascus, which occupies that position, having fallen by 14 places in the past 12 months. Singapore, however, offers "relative value" in categories like personal care and domestic help, which the survey said "remains significantly cheaper than its peers".

In Europe, five of the 10 priciest cities are outside the eurozone: Zurich, Oslo, Geneva, Copenhagen, and Reykjavik.

"Last year deflation and devaluations were prominent factors in determining the cost of living, with many cities moving down the ranking owing to currency weakness or falling local prices". Although New York dropped to No. 13, followed by Los Angeles at 14, the survey noted that the relative cost of living in USA cities has increased.

"Put simply, cheaper cities also tend to be less liveable", the report said. "As Damascus and Caracas show, a growing number of locations are becoming cheaper because of the impact of political or economic disruption".

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