Any mention of the world's most expensive cities entails notions of unbelievable rentals, high-rise buildings, sky-high prices and usual borders around the cities of Paris, New York, Singapore. However, shattering popular notions of the world's expensive cities, Tel Aviv has emerged as the single most expensive city in a recent survey.

Tel Aviv
Tel Viv      Image@Wikimedia Commons

As per Economist Intelligence Unit survey published on Wednesday, the Israeli city straightaway jumped five notches and scored the top spot for the first time in the ranking on the world's most expensive cities compiled by Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU).

The ranking takes into account the Worldwide Cost of Living Index which is compiled by comparing prices in US dollars for goods, services and real estate in 173 cities.

How did Tel Aviv score the top spot?

Several factors account for Tel Aviv climbing up the ladder, such as the strength of the national currency, the shekel against the dollar and also inflation and increase in prices for goods, groceries, transport and other services.

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Tourists stroll on the Trocadero square, in front of the Eiffel Tower during a rainy day in Paris, France, May 30, 2016.Reuters file

After Tel Aviv, the second and third in the ranking are Paris and Singapore respectively, followed by Zurich and Hong Kong. The sixth spot has been occupied by New York, while Geneva is the close seventh. Moving on, Copenhagen, Los Angeles and Osaka in Japan are the other cities among the top ten. Last year, the same survey gave a shared spot to the cities of Paris, Zurich and Hong Kong as the world's most expensive cities.

However, several unusual factors have also affected the current ranking. Upasana Dutt, head of worldwide cost of living at the EIU, has also attributed social and global restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic as having disrupted the supply of goods and thus leading to shortages and higher prices. "We can clearly see the impact in this year's index, with the rise in petrol prices particularly stark," she added.

The data for current rankings was collected in August and September as the prices for freight and commodities rose and shows that on average the prices rose 3.5 per cent in local currency terms. Simply translated, that's the fastest inflation rate recorded over the last half a decade.

Movers and shakers

Among the cities drastically moving up and down the rankings is also the Iranian capital of Tehran, which rose from 79th to 29th place. The geopolitical factors like US sanctions have pushed up the prices there and caused shortages. The Syrian city of Damascus was ranked the world's cheapest city to live in.