Sri Lanka’s Colombo city among world’s least expensive cities to live


Colombo, Sri Lanka

Buildings and the Beira Lake in Colombo, Sri Lanka. (Photographer: Jonathan Wijayaratne / Bloomberg)

Sri Lanka’s Colombo city is among the world’s least expensive cities to live in according to the annual Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) survey.

The world’s most expensive cities are jointly New York and Singapore, according to the survey.

It is the first time New York has topped the rankings. Last year’s number one, Tel Aviv, is now placed third.

Overall, the average cost of living in the world’s biggest cities is up 8.1% this year, the EIU survey reports.

The war in Ukraine and Covid’s impact on supply chains were identified as factors behind the increase.

Inflation was particularly high in Istanbul – with prices up by 86% – Buenos Aires (64%) and Tehran (57%).

High inflation in the US was one of the reasons for New York topping the list.

Los Angeles and San Francisco also made the top 10 – earlier this year, US inflation was the highest in more than 40 years.

The strengthening dollar was also a factor in the US cities’ prominence.

Moscow and St Petersburg rose through the rankings by 88 and 70 places, to 37th and 73rd place respectively, partly as a result of Western sanctions following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The survey compares costs in US dollars for goods and services in 173 cities. Kyiv was not included in this year’s review.

The EIU compared more than 400 individual prices across over 200 products and services from 172 cities around the globe.

Upasana Dutt, responsible for leading the research, said the war in Ukraine, Western sanctions on Russia and China’s zero-Covid policies “have caused supply-chain problems”.

“That, combined with rising interest rates and exchange-rate shifts, have resulted in a cost-of-living crisis across the world,” Ms Dutt added.

She said the average price rise across the 172 cities in the EIU’s survey has been “the strongest we’ve seen in the 20 years for which we have digital data”.

The most expensive cities in 2022

1 = New York

1 = Singapore

3 = Tel Aviv

4 = Hong Kong

4 = Los Angeles

6 = Zurich

7 = Geneva

8 = San Francisco

9 = Paris

10 = Sydney

10 = Copenhagen

The least expensive cities in 2022

161 = Colombo

161 = Bangalore

161 = Algiers

164 = Chennai

165 = Ahmedabad

166 = Almaty

167 = Karachi

168 = Tashkent

169 = Tunis

170 = Tehran

171 = Tripoli

172 = Damascus

(EIU’s World Cost of Living index / BBC)

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