February 05, 2013 00:00 By The Nation 6,572 Viewed
After currency swings pushed Zurich to the top of the ranking last year, Tokyo has resumed its place as the world's most expensive city, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit's new report of "cost of living 2013".
This is a familiar position for the Japanese capital, which has been the world’s most expensive city for all but a handful of the last 20 years.
In fact, since 1992 Tokyo has been the topranking city in every year bar six. Only Zurich, Paris and Oslo were dubbed the world’s most expensive city during this time.
This comes despite a fall in the relative cost of living in Tokyo (against the base city of New York) due to Japanese deflation, a weaker yen and rising prices elsewhere in the world. In Switzerland, efforts to weaken the franc meant that the relative fall in Zurich and Geneva was much stronger. In fact, relative to New York, the two Swiss cities saw the steepest declines of all 131 cities surveyed. Zurich experienced an index decline of 39 percentage points, falling from the world’s most expensive city 12 months ago to its seventh most expensive now. A 33-percentage-point decline prompted Geneva to fall seven places to tenth place.
One litre of unleaded petrol now costs US$1.97 in Tokyo, $2.61 in Oslo, $1.74 in S'Pore, and $2.04 in Geneva.