Sri Lankan capital among cheapest cities: survey

SYDNEY, July 7, 2011 (AFP) – The soaring Australian dollar has turned the country’s four biggest cities into some of the most expensive locations in the world, according to a new global survey published Thursday. Sydney and Melbourne are now the sixth and seventh most expensive cities on the planet, the Economist Intelligence Unit’s biennial cost of living survey revealed.

More significantly Perth and Brisbane, major regional centres closest to the country’s booming coal and iron ore mines, rose to 13 and 14 respectively.

“Ten years ago Sydney was ranked 71st and Melbourne 80th, while Perth was ranked 91st and Brisbane was 93rd,” the survey said.

“This is the culmination of a remarkable rise in the cost of living in Australian cities over the last decade, a period in which the value of the Australian dollar has moved from around 50 US cents to passing parity with the US dollar earlier this year.”

Insatiable demand in Asia for raw materials to make steel has seen commodity prices return to highs from before the 2008 global financial crisis.

It is now cheaper to live in London, Vienna, Rome, Berlin, Hong Kong and Beijing than most Australian cities.

Tokyo took the “dubious”