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Is Singapore the world’s most expensive city in 2021?

It’s no surprise: Singapore is mega expensive. The Lion City routinely crops up in the rankings for the cities with the highest living costs in the world – in fact, it even occupied the top spot for many years. That being said, the pandemic has changed things. Soon-to-be expat in the city-state? Good news – your money now goes a long way. In this Pacific Prime Singapore article, we’ll take a closer look at ECA International’s global Cost of Living rankings in 2021.

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Singapore’s cost of living in 2021

Let’s quickly recap the cost of living in Singapore in 2021. Compared to its Southeast Asian neighbors like Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Jakarta, and more, Singapore’s cost of living is notoriously high, and even basic necessities in the city-state can set you back a considerable sum.

Further reading: Moving to Singapore? Get an overview of the cost of living in the city-state – including visa, housing, living (food), and healthcare costs.

Singapore drops in ECA International’s global Cost of Living rankings

In 2020, Singapore took the 14th spot in ECA International’s global Cost of Living rankings. In 2021, the city-state dropped by one place to be in the 13th spot – nevertheless, it remains in the top 10 most expensive locations for expatriates to live and work in Asia, and bagged the 8th spot.

Note: Chinese cities are rising in the rankings. Five of the top ten most expensive locations in the world are now in Asia.

Why has Singapore dropped in ECA International’s rankings?

The reason why Singapore dropped in the rankings in 2021 is largely due to currency fluctuations. As Lee Quane, Regional Director for Asia at ECA International, said:

“With prices in Singapore remaining stable over recent months, any changes in the costs for expatriates living and working in the country would be largely dependent on currency changes. Consequently, as the Singapore dollar has been weaker than the yuan in the last 12 months, this has caused Singapore to fall behind Shenzhen and Guangzhou in our global rankings.”

An insight from EIU’s Worldwide Cost of Living survey

It’s worth pointing out that EIU’s Worldwide Cost of Living survey in 2020 showed Singapore dropping in its position. As Today Online reports, the COVID-19 pandemic had a role to play in this, as the following factors highlight:

  • The COVID-19 pandemic led to an exodus of foreign workers
  • Overall population shrank for the first time since 2003
  • Demand fell and deflation kicked in

Singapore budgeting tips to know of

Even though Singapore dropped in the rankings, this doesn’t mean that the cost of living has decreased significantly – as the above quote highlights. The city-state is just as expensive, and budgeting is important. This helps you stay in control of your finances, and ensures you have disposable income left to save and invest.

Further reading: New to budgeting? Here are 6 clever ways to manage your expenses in Singapore.

Looking to save money on healthcare? Get health insurance via Pacific Prime Singapore today!

While we’re on the theme of budgeting, here’s a clever way of managing your money: get health insurance. Your health and wellbeing is one area that you definitely don’t want to compromise on. But hospital bills can really spiral and be heavy on your pocket. With a comprehensive health plan, you can access first-class private medical facilities in Singapore without needing to worry about costs.

Travel often? Or perhaps you’re an expat planning to relocate soon? An international health insurance plan is highly recommended, as it’ll give you worldwide coverage and global portability, so that you can get peace of mind knowing that you’re covered – no matter where you are and no matter what happens. For an insight into average international private medical insurance (IPMI) premiums, download our Cost of International Health Insurance Report 2020-2021.

Whether you’re looking for individual or family health insurance, Pacific Prime works with top insurers to bring you the best health insurance plans in Singapore. Our highly-trained advisors take into account your needs and budgets, and recommend the most appropriate plan. What’s more, they’ll also provide a whole host of support services throughout your insurance journey. Contact us today for a no-obligation quote!

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Senior Content Creator at Pacific Prime Singapore
Suphanida is a Senior Content Creator at Pacific Prime, an award-winning global health insurance and employee benefits specialist.

With over 5 years of experience in the field, Suphanida spends the majority of her day synthesizing complex pieces of insurance-related information and translating this into easy-to-understand, engaging, and effective content across a variety of media such as articles, infographics, whitepapers, videos, and more.

Suphanida is also responsible for planning and publishing three whitepapers released annually by Pacific Prime: The State of Health Insurance Report, The Cost of Health Insurance Report, and The Global Employee Benefits Trends Report. Additionally, she handles the LinkedIn profiles of Pacific Prime’s Founder and CEO, as well as Global HR Lead.

Suphanida’s strengths lie in her strong research and analytical skills, which she has gained from her BA in Politics from the University of Warwick and Erasmus Mundus Joint MA in Journalism from Aarhus University and City, University of London.

Being of Thai-Indian origin and having lived, studied, and worked in Thailand, the UK, and Denmark, Suphanida also has a unique, multicultural perspective that helps her understand the struggles of expats and globetrotters.

Outside of work, she enjoys traveling to new places and immersing herself in different cultures.
Suphanida Thakral