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                                          Almaty  in  Kazakhistan -  least expensive city                             

           The Economist Intelligence Unit,  the research and analysis division,   ranked the world’s priciest cities. Of the 10 most expensive cities, five are in Asia. Singapore came out at No. 1, followed by Hong Kong. The third-most expensive city is Zurich in Switzerland which is the city with the highest cost of living in Europe. Tokyo and Osaka, both in Japan, are fourth and fifth, followed by Seoul in South Korea. Geneva in Switzerland, and Paris tied for 7th, and New York and Copenhagen tied at No. 9.

          Almaty in Kazakhstan was the least expensive, followed by Lagos in recession hit Nigeria.
Only one U.S. city, New York, made the top 10 in the Economist Intelligence Unit’s twice-yearly “Worldwide Cost of Living” survey. It came in ninth, dropping two places on a slightly weaker dollar but still far higher than its No. 46 slot just five years ago.

         Los Angeles, in 11th place, just missed the top tier.

         The study bases its calculation on the price of at least 160 products and services including food, drink, clothing, household supplies and personal care items among others, converted to U.S. dollars.

         So a one-kilo loaf of bread costs $3.55 U.S. in Singapore and a bottle of table wine $23.68. In Paris, they were $6.81 and $10.35, respectively.

       In Almaty, it was 90 cents for the bread and $5.15 for the wine.

      “Cheap but not always cheerful,” the survey said of some of least expensive cities, which also included Bangalore in India, Karachi in Pakistan, and Algeria’s Algiers.

         Notably absent from the list of most expensive 

cities: those located in China. Growth in consumption has weakened there, and the country’s currency the renminbi has also steadily devalued, contributing to the fall in rank for Chinese cities, the report found.

         Four European cities made the Top 10. Zurich and Geneva are known for expensive recreation and entertainment, the report says. Paris remains an expensive city,  for two items: alcohol and tobacco. Paris is also one of the most popular cities in the world for tourists, which means local vendors can afford to up their prices. And its status as an historical European capital makes it difficult to build or expand on apartment blocks to help lower property prices.

           The survey said the trend in the latest report was for a resurgence of Asian cities. With Singapore on top, Hong Kong (second), Tokyo (fourth), Osaka (fifth) and Seoul (sixth) in South Korea also making it, the top 10 was 50 percent Asian.

          The report notes that part of Singapore’s run as the most expensive city is due to its high transport and utility costs, both of which can affect travelers as they can translate to higher hotel room fees and more expensive public transit. Singapore’s transportation costs are 2.7 times higher than in New York.

          It might be this increased cost of living in some cities is the reason why Asian nations remain under developed. The survey too says that all the least expensive cities and the respective nations in which those cities belong to have a well-planned money management system. If these expensive cities adopt a money management policy, may be in the future the Asian countries will not be in the list of poor and under developed nations.