The London-based Economist Intelligence Unit has released its “Worldwide Cost of Living Report 2021.” The firm named Tel Aviv, Israel’s largest city, as the most expensive in the world.
For the first time, the Israeli city made the list, rising from fifth place last year. It tied with Singapore for the most expensive city, surpassing Paris, which had previously been named the most expensive city.
On the other hand, Damascus, Syria’s war-torn capital, is the world’s most affordable city.
The data for this survey was collected between August and September of 2021.
According to the EIU, Tel Aviv rose in the rankings due to increases in the Israeli currency, the shekel, which was “buoyed against the [US] dollar by Israel’s successful COVID-19 vaccine rollout,” which was one of the fastest in the world.
The Israeli shekel was up 4% year to date against the US dollar early last month, but it has since lost ground. With 62 % of the Israeli population fully vaccinated, Israel had one of the most effective Covid-19 vaccination systems in the world.
Although the average price hike was only 1.6 %, the EUI claims that prices for about one-tenth of all goods increased dramatically.
“In local-currency terms, Tel Aviv’s rise is primarily due to its soaring currency and price increases for around one-tenth of goods in the city, led by groceries and transportation,” they wrote in a summary obtained by Al-Monitor. “Property prices have also risen, particularly in residential areas,” says the report.
Tel Aviv was the second most expensive city for alcohol and transportation, fifth for personal care items, and sixth for recreation, according to the survey.
It placed third in all ten of the EIU’s major spending categories, with a 5-point increase in its index score since last year.
The pandemic’s ensuing lockdown is a major factor in the rankings’ shift.