Hong Kong is world's most expensive city for luxuries, Singapore at No 5

Property prices have fallen in Hong Kong in 2019, but other luxuries are just as expensive. PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON (BLOOMBERG) - Despite months of protests, Hong Kong is the most expensive city in the world to live in luxury, according to a research by Swiss private bank Julius Baer released on Thursday (Jan 16).

In fact, four out of the five most expensive cities are in Asia - Shanghai at No. 2, Tokyo at No. 3 and Singapore at No. 5 - according of its ranking of luxury goods and services in 28 cities. New York is the outlier in the top ranks at No. 4.

Property prices have fallen in Hong Kong in 2019, but other luxuries are just as expensive with the city cited frequently in the top 10 for categories such as fine dining and luxury cars.

But if the rich want cheap goods in Asia, they should head to Mumbai, India, which is the cheapest of the 28 cities studied.

High local tax rates make Rio de Janeiro - Brazil's second-largest city - the world's most expensive metropolis in five of 18 categories in the Swiss bank's inaugural Global Wealth and Lifestyle Report.

The report underscores the growing scope of opulence among the world's wealthy as tensions mount in some nations over the divide between the rich and everyone else.

Widening inequality in Hong Kong, fuelled by low taxes, has helped incite the city's worst unrest since it returned to Chinese rule in 1997, and the city may drop in future rankings after months of unrest take their toll on the economy.

The idea of luxury "once stood for fancy goods, such as handbags or sports cars", Mr Nicolas de Skowronski, head of wealth management solutions at Julius Baer, said in the report. "Now it has morphed into a broad category that includes services and experiences, from fine dining to new lifestyle trends such as wellness."

BLOOMBERG, with additional information from Forbes

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