And the World’s 10 Most Expensive Cities of 2013 Are …

If you’re tight on the budget, you might want to scratch Tokyo and Osaka off your list

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Tokyo, Japan tops the Economist Intelligence Unit's list of the world's most expensive cities in 2013.

Whether you’re a penny-pincher or a dollar-stretcher, or just overall feeling a bit light in the wallet, you’ll probably want to cross Japan off your list of travel destinations. Two Japanese cities, Tokyo and Osaka, have topped this year’s list of the most expensive places in the world.

In a report released this week by the Economist Intelligence Unit, the two cities top the chart of the priciest places to live. It’s a ranking that shouldn’t shock Tokyoites, however — the city has been named the world’s most expensive for all but six years since 1992.

The chart gauges the prices of some of the main staples of living, from clothing to groceries, pricing out everyday items such as a loaf of bread, bottle of wine and pack of cigarettes — things that can see great fluctuations year to year based on taxes, tariffs and production changes. The list is calculated in a similar manner to the basket of goods measured for the U.S.’s Consumer Price Index. In Tokyo, the most expensive — and most populous — metropolitan area in the world, the average cost of a 2-lb. loaf of bread is about $9.06. An average bottle of table wine costs $15.95.

(LIST: 10 Things That Cost Way More Outside the U.S.)

But that’s positively a bargain compared with two Australian cities, which have seen some of the biggest jumps in prices over the past year. Sydney and Melbourne fill the third and fourth slots, respectively. In Sydney, the same bottle of wine that is less than $16 in Tokyo costs more than $25. Partially powered by the country’s strong economic links to China’s burgeoning economy, the Australian dollar has surpassed parity with the U.S. dollar in recent years despite being valued around 80 cents traditionally in the past. Thus, living — or making a trip — Down Under is not as budget-friendly as it was 10 years ago.

The biggest surprise comes with Caracas, which jumps up 25 slots from last year. The main culprit for a lighter wallet? Rising inflation and the unfortunate characteristic of having a fixed exchange rate to the U.S. dollar. A loaf of bread costs 20% more than it did a year ago, and a bottle of wine has jumped 13%. Fortunately one crucial component is still dirt cheap in the South American country: fuel. The government of the oil-rich nation subsidizes the cost of gas, so much so that one liter (1/4 gallon) costs about two cents. Parisians must be crying — their fuel costs 100 times more per gallon.

The report also reveals another trend: Asia is overtaking Europe as one of the most expensive regions in the world to live. In conjunction with a strong economy and rising inflation, Asian cities top the list, with 11 out of the world’s top 20 most expensive locales.

(MORE: America’s Least and Most Expensive Cities to Do Business In)

Luckily, if you’re residing Stateside, you can probably breathe a (little) sigh of relief: no American city makes it into the top 20, though Los Angeles and New York tie at No. 27. The chart also lists the least expensive places in the world: Karachi and Mumbai tie for the ranking.

The top 10 most expensive cities are:

10. Geneva

9. Caracas

8. Paris

7. Zurich

6. Singapore

5. Melbourne

4. Oslo

3. Sydney

2. Osaka

1. Tokyo

24 comments
AnnikyavonVanity
AnnikyavonVanity

Aspen, Colorado is VERY VERY pricey.  So its in my list anyway :D

yamen1011
yamen1011

All the world is hell in cost lol

VeL
VeL

London??


Bianca Leury
Bianca Leury

I live in Manhattan, I KNOW this is the most expensive city to live in the US.

Mac Aguilar
Mac Aguilar

New York, Moscow and Tokyo...definitely !!!

Michelle Tafoya
Michelle Tafoya

Paris, New York, Sydney, Tokoyo, Monaco, someplace in Switzerland would be my guesses

fishysee
fishysee

I wonder why Hong Kong didn't make the list- It has the costliest rental sector with an unfurnished 3-bedroom apartment averaging US$11,550 a month (data from international HR provider ECA International)- in Los Angeles you can easily get the same with $2000. Do you have any thoughts/ explanation?

Rich Wang
Rich Wang

These are also cities with extremely low crime rates, hmm...

Nathan Nguyen
Nathan Nguyen

10 cities I have never been to and don't see myself going to anytime soon

Bimal Tailor
Bimal Tailor

I'm also very surprised London isn't on the list.

Cliffy
Cliffy

Awhile ago we visited Tokyo. It was the wife's first time though I had been born and raised there as an American foreigner. She was visibly excited seeing a nice Cantaloupe laid out pleasantly in a grocery store and wanted to buy it. The price showed 12,000 yen and she asked me how much it was, still excited and readying to pick up the box the Cantaloupe was laid in. I said about $100.00. She croaked and didn't buy it. That was 1988. I wonder what it costs now...