Kathmandu is the most expensive city in South Asia, according to a latest survey.
Though, it is one of the cheapest cities in the world, compared to New York, it is expensive than the Indian capital New Delhi, financial hub Mumbai, or Pakistan’s Karachi, according to the Worldwide Cost of Living 2014 published by Economist Intelligence Unit.
The last year’s report had ranked Nepal’s capital as the sixth least expensive city in terms of cost of living.
India’s financial hub Mumbai is the cheapest city, whereas Singapore is the most expensive city – making Asia home to both most and least expensive cities – the report that has prepared the ranking of 131 cities of 93 countries based on comparison with New York, which has an index set at 100.
Worldwide Cost of Living survey compares more than 400 individual prices across 160 products and services including food, drink, clothing, household supplies and personal care items, home rents, transport, utility bills, private schools, domestic help and recreational costs.
Among the 10 least expensive cities compared to New York, seven are in five Asian countries, it said, adding that within Asia, the best value for money is on the Indian subcontinent — defined as India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka but they are documented as politically unrest. “These countries appear to be economical due to recent fall in exchange rates. As currencies in Asian countries took a beating to US dollars, the prices of commodities and service became cheaper, pulling the relative cost of living down.”
The report has attributed low wages, combined with a cheap and plentiful supply of goods into cities, as well as government subsidies on some products, as factors keeping prices down in Mumbai.
Likewise, Kathmandu is though one of the cheapest cities – compared to New York – the report also stated Nepal as one of the countries with ‘well documented security issues or domestic unrest’, similar to Pakistan and Syria.
However, Singapore’s steady climb towards becoming the expensive, from 18th rank 10 years ago, is attributed to 40 per cent currency appreciation and solid price inflation over the past decade.

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