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Zurich overtakes New York to become most expensive city in the world

zurich, switzerland
The strength of the franc and high prices for groceries have pushed Zurich to the top of the list - JaCZhou/Moment RF

Zurich has overtaken New York to become the most expensive city in the world to live in, new research has found.

The Swiss banking hub has made it to the top spot thanks to the strength of the franc and high prices for groceries, household goods and leisure activities, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit’s (EIU) latest worldwide cost of living survey of 173 major cities.

New York was one of 22 cities in North America which have, on average, dropped down the rankings this year, along with Moscow and St Petersburg in Russia, as the rouble continues to plummet in value in the wake of the invasion of Ukraine last year.

Zurich is now tied with Singapore for number one globally, which has been the world’s most expensive city nine times in the last 11 years and, along with Hong Kong, is one of two Asian cities to make it into the top 10 this year, according to the EIU.

The Big Apple fell to third place, joint with Geneva.

The US Federal Reserve’s trenchant anti-inflationary policies were said to have helped keep price rises low in New York, up 1.9pc on average, with petrol and clothing costs subdued while groceries like eggs and beef, as well as recreational activities, went up in price.

This compares with overall global price rises of 7.4pc, down from 8.1pc last year, that are measured across over 200 commonly used goods and services around the world. The surge was led by increases in the cost of groceries, while the soaring energy prices, which marked last winter, were said to have eased.

Europe dominates the higher rankings, with Zurich followed by Geneva for number three, and Paris and Copenhagen also among the 10 most expensive cities. North America, meanwhile, has three: New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco.

So-called sticky inflation, when prices do not respond to supply and demand changes and monetary policies such as higher interest rates, was blamed for the surge in prices in Europe’s cities, as well as the euro’s rally against other currencies across the Continent.

Some of the biggest leaps in average prices occurred in European cities including Manchester, Berlin, Prague and Luxembourg, in addition to Central American cities such as San José in Costa Rica and Santiago de Querétaro in Mexico.

Despite prices rising by around 6pc, Moscow fell more than 100 places in the EIU’s rankings and St Petersburg dropped 74 after the Russian rouble depreciated in value by roughly 60pc since 2022 as the country reels from punishing sanctions.

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