Singapore is 'priciest place to buy cars but its public transport is among cheapest'

Potential car buyers and members of public at the Toyota showroom on March 17, 2013. Singapore is the most expensive place in the world to buy a car, according a survey by Deutsche Bank. -- ST FILE PHOTO: NEO XIAOBIN
Potential car buyers and members of public at the Toyota showroom on March 17, 2013. Singapore is the most expensive place in the world to buy a car, according a survey by Deutsche Bank. -- ST FILE PHOTO: NEO XIAOBIN

Singapore is the most expensive place in the world to buy a car, according to a survey by Deutsche Bank.

The bank's annual survey of global prices released on Friday found that a new Volkswagen Golf costs US$126,499 (S$158,125) here.

The amount far exceeds the next highest price tag of US$55,516 needed to buy the same car in Kuala Lumpur and is more than five times the US$26,700 cost in New York.

Offering to take the tabs for a pint of beer here will also set your savings back by a sizeable amount - US$7.94 to be precise - the second most expensive city to enjoy your drink, behind Paris at US$8.11.

Working out at the gym will also burn a hole in your pocket, with a month of gym membership in the business district costing US$131.79 a month, trailing only Moscow where the fees stand at US$142.49.

But consumers can find relief in when it comes to purchasing other goods and services here.

Sending your loved ones a bouquet of roses that is delivered to their doorstep is second cheapest in Singapore, at US$73.99, the same price in Brazil.

Only France, Germany and South Africa offer the service at a cheaper rate of US$67.14.

Public transport and health insurance costs here are also among the most affordable in the world.

The minimum fare for single rides on the public transport system here is 61 US cents, with only China, India, Malaysia and Mexico offering lower fares.

In China, the minimum fare is 16 US cents in Beijing and 49 US cents in Shanghai; in India the fare is eight US cents in New Delhi, 10 US cents in Mumbai and 25 US cents in Bangalore; in Malaysia's capital of Kuala Lumpur, the amount is 30 US cents while in Mexico's Mexico city, the sum is 19 US cents.

The most basic health insurance annual premium for a Singaporean aged 25 to 35 years old is US$90.50, behind Mexico (US$49.88), Indonesia (US$75.41), India (US$79.60) and the Philippines (US$85.17).

Singapore ranks in the middle of the pack among its peers in the developed economies for other items like a pair of Levi's jeans, an iPhone, and office rental space.

Deutsche Bank economist Sanjeev Sanyal said at a briefing on Friday that the variability in Singapore's price is because of government intervention, with subsidies for activities deemed beneficial and taxes for those deemed detrimental, like sin taxes.

Overall, he said Australia is the most expensive major economy while the United States is generally the cheapest developed country.

Singapore lies in the middle, but Mr Sanyal declined to rank the country, saying much depends on the basket of goods chosen for comparison.

The data is taken by directly surveying prices posed on the internet and from secondary sources that have collated such data.