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Karachi among 10 cheapest cities in South Asia

July 07, 2011

Tokyo took the ‘dubious’ honour of the world’s most expensive city, said a new global survey.—File photo

SYDNEY: The soaring Australian dollar has turned the country’s four biggest cities into some of the most expensive locations in the world, according to a new global survey published on Thursday.

Most of 10 cheapest cities are in South Asia with Karachi at the bottom of the index. Mumbai and New Delhi are also in the bottom 10, while the Sri Lankan capital Colombo comes in 114th, in the bottom 20.

“Despite the rise of India as a growing emerging-market economy, the low cost of living in cities continues to reflect the fact that the subcontinent remains a comparatively cheap place to live and work,” the Economist Intelligence Unit’s biennial cost of living survey said.

Sydney and Melbourne in Australia are now the sixth and seventh most expensive cities on the planet, the survey reveals.

More significantly Perth and Brisbane, major regional centres closest to Australia’s booming coal and iron ore mines, rose to 13 and 14 respectively.

“Ten years ago Sydney was ranked 71st and Melbourne 80th, while Perth was ranked 91st and Brisbane was 93rd,” the survey said.

“This is the culmination of a remarkable rise in the cost of living in Australian cities over the last decade, a period in which the value of the Australian dollar has moved from around 50 US cents to passing parity with the US dollar earlier this year.”

Insatiable demand in Asia for raw materials to make steel has seen commodity prices return to highs from before the 2008 global financial crisis.

It is now cheaper to live in London, Vienna, Rome, Berlin, Hong Kong and Beijing than most Australian cities.

Tokyo took the ‘dubious’ honour of the world’s most expensive city, a title it has held for much of the past two decades, with Osaka ranking third.—AFP