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If you are on a tight budget for your family Summer vacation and you have not booked your trip overseas just yet, it might save you a good chunk of dollars by checking cost of living stats around the world. As it does every year, the British magazine The Economist published a list of the most expensive cities to live in. We are not talking about real estate prices here, although the rental costs are part of the study. What The Economist took into consideration is the cost of as many as 160 basic goods and services, ranging from the price of a bottle of milk or a loaf of bread, to the price of clothing items and the cost of entertainment such as a ticket to the ballgame or the theater. Two things jump at you when you look at the list. First, life in the US is not that pricey when compared to what it would be in other continents and countries, everything being equal. Second, you better plan on burning a lot of your savings when traveling in the Far East. Case in point: Asia, as the study shows, hosts 5 of the 6 most expensive cities on the globe today. Could be even more a showdown had the Chinese yuan not suffered as much as it did in recent months. At the very top of the price pyramid, Singapore stands alone. Your credit card will get some good use there. Next is Hong Kong, the usual suspect we might say. Between the two leading cities, there is only a 5% cost delta. Number 3 is in Europe. No, it’s not Paris or London. It’s Zurich, in tiny Switzerland. I am told it’s not just the rising cost of chocolate :-). The other three Asian towns that round up the top six most expensive cities in the world are Tokyo, Osaka and Seoul. No doubt the recent recovery of the yen had a lot to do with the two largest Japanese cities placing in the top ten. Paris ranks 7th on the list, tied with Geneva, another Swiss star. It is interesting to note that only a decade ago, Europe accounted for 8 of the top 10 priciest towns in the world. No more. Today, that number is 4, just half of its record ten years prior. What will it be next year? Stay tuned. You might want to know what happened to London. Well, the After-Brexit-London went down sharply, from 6th place to 24th. I suppose if you plan a trip to the Foggy City, you will not mind. The British do though, especially if they are planning a trip to… the other side of the Channel or the other side of the Pond. Oh, by the way, what about US cities? Thanks for asking. New York is closing the top 10, tied with Copenhagen, the Danish capital. When it comes to the cost of living, Singapore is something like 20% more expensive than New York. Not too much of a gap, really. Other American cities do not fare quite as well on the list. Here are the numbers:

  • Los Angeles, #11

  • Minneapolis, #25

  • Chicago & Washington DC, tied for #27

  • San Francisco, #32 (feels like #1 when I go shopping)

  • Houston, #35

  • Seattle, #44

  • Honolulu, #49

If you care to know which towns registered the biggest jump upward, you have to go to Brazil. Sao Paulo, the business capital and Rio de Janeiro, the capital of fun, climbed up 29 & 27 places respectively, to rank 78th and 86th. On the way down, the biggest movers are Manchester (UK), -25 spots; Buenos Aires (Argentina), -20 spots; London, -18; Beijing, -16 and another Chinese town, Suzhou, which lost 16 spots as well. So, where will you be going this Summer?

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