Saturday, June 30, 2012

Singapore is more expensive than Canada

I just reviewed Mercer's "Worldwide Cost of Living Survey 2012 – city ranking" published on the 12-Jun-2012. Selected quotes from Mercer:
"Tokyo is the world’s most expensive city for expatriates, pushing Luanda, Angola, down to second position, according to Mercer’s latest Cost of Living Survey. Osaka is in third position, up three places from last year, whereas Moscow remains in fourth and Geneva in fifth positions. Singapore and Zurich share sixth place, up two and one places respectively since 2011."
"Toronto (61) remains the highest ranking city in Canada, closely followed by Vancouver (63). Montréal (87) has dropped eight places, whereas Calgary (92) has climbed four."
The Mercer international basket includes rental accommodation costs. I think that probably drove Singapore up to the 6th position to tie with Geneva. We know that rental costs depends on the demand (e.g. open foreign labour floodgates) and supply (i.e. limited land size, Singapore is the 193rd largest country by land size compared to Canada at 2nd place). In addition, rental costs also correlate to costs of owning/leasing a property, which in turn correlates to the developer's costs, which in turn correlates to land costs, for which the PAP government claims that it would be akin to raiding the reserves if land was sold at concessionary prices, even for public housing. IMHO, one may conclude that according to the PAP government: it is more important to enrich the multi-billion dollars reserves than to support the basic living needs of Singapore citizens.

Another point to note: one knee-jerk reaction against introducing a minimum wage policy in Singapore is the (unproven) claim that it would drive the cost of living up through the roof, and thus the poor will suffer even more. Well, Canada has minimum wages. In B.C. the minimum wage is currently CAD10.25 per hour (increased since 1st May 2012). Yet, Vancouver is ranked only the 63rd most expensive city, compared with Singapore at the 6th position.


Check out Expatistan - Cost of Living Index for a detail breakdown of city-vs-city cost of living comparison. Here's the Singapore (Singapore) vs Vancouver (Canada) one.


Oh, not forgetting that Canada ranks as the 5th happiest place to live on earth. According to News1130 on the World Happiness Report 2012: "Denmark took first place, followed by Norway, Finland and the Netherlands." Note: All the top 5 countries have high income tax, low income inequality, and relatively high state social welfare expenditure.

Where is Singapore on the happiness index? Ok, it didn't do that badly. At 33rd worldwide, Singapore tops the list amongst all Asian countries. It is followed by Japan (44), Taiwan (46), South Korea (56), Hong Kong (67) and mainland China (112).

1 comment:

  1. If you are interested, you can look at a comparison of Singapore with other world cities: Singapore vs World Cities