Karachi was the fourth least-expensive city to live in, according to findings of the EIU’s Worldwide Cost of Living survey 2023, published by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), a sister arm of The Economist, on Thursday.

Karachi was ranked at 170 out of 173 cities, coming up ahead of Tripoli, Tehran and Damascus, in an index which assessed their relative cost of living.

The findings – updated biannually – were generated by analysing over 400 individual prices per location across 200 products and services.

The survey also studied current and past trends impacting the cost of living such as currency swings, local inflation and commodity shocks.

Singapore maintained its position as the world’s most expensive city for the ninth time in the last eleven years, tying with Zurich and overtaking New York, which fell to third place this year, according to the report’s findings.

These were followed by Geneva – also in third place – along with Hong Kong, Los Angeles, Paris, Copenhagen and San Francisco.

EIU’s latest Worldwide Cost of Living (WCOL) survey – conducted between August 14 and September 11, 2023 – concluded that prices rose by an average of 7.4% in over the past year in the world’s major cities.

This was slightly slower than the 8.1% price growth recorded last year, as supply-chain disruptions have eased and interest rates have risen but remained significantly above the trend in 2017-21.

Singapore, Zurich world’s most expensive cities

The findings revealed that North American cities have, on average, slipped down in the cost-of-living ranking, while Western Europe accounted for four of the top ten most expensive cities due to inflation in groceries and clothing along with appreciation of the region’s currencies.

Groceries saw the fastest pace of price growth as food inflation grew globally. Many manufacturers and retailers have passed on higher costs to consumers and the increasing frequency of climate change and extreme weather events continue to keep supply-side risks elevated.

Karachi ranked fifth worst livable city in new index

The report also noted that Chinese cities fell in the rankings owing to a slow economic recovery after the pandemic, subdued consumer demand and depreciation of the currency.

Russian cities – Moscow and St Petersburg – experienced their biggest drop in the rankings as sanctions weakened the ruble.

Earlier this year, Karachi was declared the fifth worst city to live in, according to The Livability Index 2023, also published by EIU.

It was ranked 169 out of 173 countries, coming up ahead of Lagos, Nigeria, Algiers and Tripoli, in an index which ranked living conditions in cities across health care, culture and environment, education and infrastructure.

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