The world's most expensive cities named: Sydney, Melbourne now pricier than Shanghai

The wallet-burning cost of living in Australia's largest cities has been highlighted again, with Sydney and Melbourne ranked among the most expensive in the world.

Both cities jumped six places in the Economist Intelligence Unit's latest worldwide cost of living survey, which gauges the relative costs of living across 133 cities.

Sydney's jump to 14th position and Melbourne's rise to 15th was expected given the appreciation in the Australian dollar in the last year or so, the survey's editor Job Copestake said.

"This movement is in sync with a number of other Asian cities, which have come to dominate at the top of the ranking," he said in a statement on Tuesday.

However, the rankings for Sydney and Melbourne are still lower than five years ago when both Australian cities were among the 10 most expensive in the world.

Singapore and Hong Kong retained the top two spots and Seoul came in sixth. Zurich, the third most expensive, was the only impediment to Asia holding all top five slots.

Australians looking for a cheaper lifestyle probably shouldn't move across the pond either with Auckland and Wellington ranking joint 16th in the survey.

The New Zealand cities are now as expensive as China's priciest - Shanghai.

Elsewhere in the world, Almaty in Kazakhstan and Lagos in Nigeria dropped sharply in the March survey to become the two cities with the cheapest day-to- day costs.

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Tokyo returned to the ranks of the world's 10 costliest cities as Asia's representation expanded, reflecting the region's rising clout in the global economy.

Japan's capital, the world's costliest city until 2012, jumped seven places to No. 4 this year and Osaka climbed nine notches to No. 5, both bolstered by a resurgent yen. 

Asia accounts for 40 percent of the global economy and in the four years to 2020 is predicted by the International Monetary Fund to contribute two-thirds of worldwide growth. At the same time, cities in China, the region's economic powerhouse, slipped by between five and 16 places due to weakening consumption and a depreciation in the renminbi, the report showed.

Europe had four cities in the top 10, with Geneva, Paris and Copenhagen joining Zurich. The French capital was the only euro zone city among the top 10, remaining "structurally extremely expensive to live in, with only alcohol and tobacco offering value for money compared with other European cities," the EIU said.

New York was the only representative from North America in the top 10, slipping to ninth from seventh due to a slight weakening of the dollar.

The greenback's moderation and the euro remaining relatively steady meant the currencies of Canada, Australia and New Zealand appreciated.

Singapore's ranking as the world's priciest city for the fourth consecutive year is largely due to the cost of owning a car there being the highest in the world. It is also the second-priciest for clothing.

"Singapore's position is skewed slightly by the complex system for buying and registering cars as well as relatively high incomes, which means that it remains relatively affordable for many residents," said Jon Copestake, editor of the survey.

The report, which compared prices of over 150 items across 133 cities, showed London and Manchester slid in response to uncertainty surrounding Brexit and the ensuing depreciation of the pound.

Rebounding prices continued to impact the cost of living in commodity-reliant countries, with the Brazilian cities of Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro the fastest-rising in terms of cost of living, moving up 29 and 27 places respectively.

While Asia is home to some of the world's most expensive metropolises, it is also site of some of the cheapest, too. South Asian cities like Bangalore, Chennai, Karachi, Mumbai and New Delhi represent excellent value for money, according to the survey. This year, Almaty, Kazakhstan's business centre, and Lagos in Nigeria were ranked the world's cheapest.

The world's most expensive cities

1 Singapore

2 Hong Kong

3 Zurich

4 Tokyo

5 Osaka

6 Seoul

7= Geneva

7= Paris

9= New York

9= Copenhagen

11= Los Angeles

11= Oslo

11= Tel Aviv

14 Sydney

15 Melbourne

16= Shanghai

16= Helsinki

16= Reykjavik

16= Auckland

16= Wellington

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See also: World's happiest countries named in new rankings

See also: The world's cleanest countries named

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