Phnom Penh moved up to sixth spot, ranking 76th in Worldwide Cost of Living Survey, compiled by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) - London-based EIU is the research and analysis division of The Economist Group, the sister company to The Economist newspaper.
Other emerging country for instance Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok, Manila, and Hanoi also climbed several places in the ranking, while Singapore, Hong Kong and Paris shared the tile of most expensive city in the world.
In a statement, EIU reported cities that moved up in the ranking benefited from the high economic growth recorded in 2018. A big move is Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia, rising 10 spots to 88, followed by Bangkok, up six points to 41, and Manila gets nine points, rank 92. Vietnam’s Hanoi and Phnom Penh each rose by six place.
The survey, which compares the price among 133 cities globally, found a degree of convergence across regions among the most expensive place.
EIU researchers surveyed supermarkets, mid-priced stores, and higher priced specialty outlets. Prices reflected costs for more than 160 items such as food, toiletries and clothing, domestic help, transport, and utility bills in each city.
The prices were not judge by retailer or manufacturers’ costs but those paid by customers. The accumulated amount converted into US dollars using the prevailing exchange rate and weighted in order to achieve comparative indices.
Survey editor Roxana Slavcheva commented the researchers noted the converging costs in traditionally more expensive cities like Singapore, Hong Kong, Seoul, Tokyo, and Sydney.
She added, it is a testament to globalization and the similarity of tastes and shopping patterns. Even in locations where topping a grocery basket might be relatively cheaper, utilities or transportation prices drive the overall cost of living upwards.
Due to exchange-rate volatility, the cost of living in some notable Asian cities has risen, with many urban centers in China and Australia moving in the opposite direction.
Weaker local currencies have pushed all five Australian and two New Zealand cities surveyed down in the ranking. Sydney has fallen from the tenth spot last year to 16 while Melbourne is no longer in the top 20.
Similarly, Chinese cities have mostly seen a decline in the ranking, which means they have become relatively less expensive.
“The primary driver here has been the economic slowdown led by domestic factors, with the tighter financial conditions and ongoing trade war with the US continuing to erode consumer and business confidence,” EIU said.