Tel Aviv is the most expensive city in the world, according to an annual survey by the Economist magazine.
The Israeli city takes the top spot from Paris, which dropped to a shared second place with Singapore.
The data was gathered by the Worldwide Cost of Living Survey from the Economist Intelligence Unit and was published on Wednesday.
Tel Aviv climbed the rankings partly due to the strength of the national currency, the Israeli shekel, against the US dollar, as well increases in prices for transport and groceries.
Next in the ranking were Zurich, Hong Kong and New York. Rounding off the top 10 were Geneva, Copenhagen, Los Angeles, and Osaka in 10th place.
The Syrian capital Damascus was ranked the world’s cheapest city to live in.
Restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic “have disrupted the supply of goods, leading to shortages and higher prices,” said Upasana Dutt, the head of worldwide cost of living at The EIU.
“We can clearly see the impact in this year’s index, with the rise in petrol prices particularly stark,” she said, while central banks are expected to raise interest rates cautiously, reducing inflation.
The average inflation figure does not include four cities with exceptionally high rates: Caracas, Damascus, Buenos Aires and Tehran. The Iranian capital rose from 79th to 29th place in the ranking as US sanctions have pushed up prices and caused shortages.
Tel Aviv cost of living
High cost of living has been a persistent issue in Tel Aviv.
In 2011, a “tent revolution” saw young Israelis furious at sharp rises in rents erect shelters on the upmarket Rothschild Boulevard in the heart of the city. A decade later, the tents are gone but the soaring prices have remained.
“The protest had a temporary effect,” said Asher Blass, former chief economist at the Bank of Israel. Tel Aviv’s ranking this year is primarily due to the strong local currency, he said.
Last month, the shekel reached a 25-year high against the dollar. As the cost of housing and other basics like groceries has increased, wage growth has been uneven.
“A lot more needs to be done in opening up competition for goods like agricultural produce” to bring down prices, Blass said.