Singapore holds onto the title of the most expensive city in the world for the fifth year running according to The Economist Intelligence Unit's 2018 Worldwide Cost of Living Survey.

The survey, which compares the price of more than 150 items in 133 cities around the world, found that Singapore was 16% more expensive than New York.

For comparison, its regional rival Hong Kong, which lies in fourth place, is 11% pricier than New York. Singapore retains its title in a top ten that is largely split between Asia and Europe. Seoul is the only other city in the top ten that has maintained its ranking from the previous year. In the rest of Asia, Hong Kong and Sydney round up the top ten most expensive cities in the world.

European cities dominate the most expensive list however. In fact it is non-euro area cities in Western Europe that remain the most expensive. Zurich (joint second), Oslo (fifth), Geneva (sixth) and Copenhagen (eighth) are among the ten priciest. The lone exception is Paris (second), which has featured among the top ten most expensive cities since 2003.

With Western European cities returning to the fold, the region now accounts for three of the five most expensive cities and for half of the top ten, while Tel Aviv is the sole Middle Eastern representative.

Roxana Slavcheva, editor of the survey, said: "Western European cities dominate the top of the ranking once more. This is something we have not seen in over a decade. The competition between Asian hubs like Singapore, Hong Kong and Seoul on the one hand and European destinations such as Paris, Zurich and Oslo on the other will be one to watch over the next survey cycle as well.

"More interesting is the fall in the ranking for the Japanese cities, Tokyo and Osaka, which were in the top five most expensive just last year."

Elsewhere, continued economic uncertainty from the Brexit referendum has weighed on the strength of the British pound, pushing the UK cities of London and Manchester sharply down the rankings. London's rank (30th) is its lowest in two decades, while Manchester fell further to 56th.

The report can be downloaded at eiu.com/WCOL2018

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