For the first time in at least two decades of reporting the worldwide cost of living survey Zurich sits atop the ranking as the world’s most expensive city.
An index swing of 34 percentage points pushed the Swiss city up 4 places compared to last year to overtake Tokyo which remains in 2nd place.
Geneva, the other Swiss city surveyed saw a 30 percentage point rise in the cost of living to move up six places into joint third alongside Osaka.
The authors of the bi-annual report said both Japan and Switzerland have seen strong currency movements over the last few years which have made them relatively more expensive.
Currency movements in Australia also explain the presence of both Sydney and Melbourne in the list of top ten most expensive cities to live.
Hong Kong, which has long been noted as an expensive place to live, is surprisingly ranked at 22, much lower than its third-placed position a decade ago.
The survey of 130 cities worldwide compares more than 400 individual prices across 160 products, including food, clothing, transport, rents and private schools.
The price of a litre of petrol for example varies hugely from city to city. In its breakdown, the EIU shows that it is $2.17 in Paris but only $0.96 in Moscow.
Despite eurozone weaknesses, western Europe still accounts for 24 of the most expensive cities in the top 50, with 14 hailing from Asia.
Top 10 Most Expensive Cities In The World – 2012
1. Zurich, Switzerland
2. Tokyo, Japan
3. Geneva, Switzerland
4. Osaka, Japan
5. Oslo, Norway
6. Paris, France
7. Sydney, Australia
8. Melbourne, Australia
9. Singapore, Singapore
10. Frankfurt, Germany
Alex has written for Vanity Fair, Barrons, Bloomberg and Condé Nast Traveler.