India’s Bengaluru, Chennai and New Delhi are among the top 10 cheapest cities in the world, according to a survey conducted by The Economist’s Intelligence Unit.
Caracas in Venezuela was ranked the cheapest city in the world, while Damascus in Syria, Tashkent in Uzbekistan, Almaty in Kazakhstan, Pakistan’s Karachi, Nigeria’s Lagos and Buenos Aires in Argentina made up the rest of the list. Singapore, Hong Kong and Paris shared the ranking for the most expensive city. Singapore was ranked the most expensive for the second year in a row.
The Worldwide Cost of Living Survey compared “more than 400 individual prices across 160 products and services in cities around the world” to come up with the rankings for 2019.
The survey attributed Caracas’s ranking to the inflation in Venezuela and the government’s decision to launch a new currency. “The new currency value has varied so much since its creation and the economy was demonetised, compelling people to use commodities and exchange services and personal items like clothing, auto parts and jewellery to purchase basic goods such as groceries,” the report said.
The survey added that most South Asian cities offer the best value for money.
“India is tipped for rapid economic expansion but, in per head terms, wage and spending growth will remain low,” the report said. “Income inequality means that low wages are the norm, limiting household spending and creating many tiers of pricing as well as strong competition from a range of retail sources. This, combined with a cheap and plentiful supply of goods into cities from rural producers with short supply chains as well as government subsidies on some products, has kept prices down, especially by Western standard.”