Asia, world’s most expensive region for the wealthy | Sunday Observer

Asia, world’s most expensive region for the wealthy

18 April, 2021

Asia continues to be the most expensive place in the world to be rich, according to a new report, which saw the region’s resilience to the Covid-19 pandemic hold high prices steady.

The world’s most populous continent remained the most costly for high-and ultra-high net worth individuals (HNWIs) in  Bank Julius Baer’s Global Wealth and Lifestyle Report 2021  as its swift response to the global health crisis and overall currency stability maintained the cost of luxury goods in the region. Four of the five most expensive cities for HNWIs — individuals with $1 million or more in investable assets — are now in Asia, according to the annual report. Shanghai, China jumped to the top of the ranking of 25 global cities to be named the most expensive place to live as a wealthy individual. Hong Kong, last year’s number one, slipped to third place, while Tokyo, Japan held steady in second position.

Monaco, a small wealthy state in Western Europe, and Taipei, Taiwan rounded out the top five. “Covid didn’t become an epidemic (in Asia) in quite the same way as the other countries in the index,” said Rajesh Manwani, head of markets and wealth management solutions for Asia-Pacific at Bank Julius Baer. Europe and the Middle East ranked in second place, with the majority of global cities represented in the region buoyed by the strength of the euro and Swiss franc. The Americas, meanwhile — hard hit by the pandemic — emerged as the cheapest region to live a luxury lifestyle, as the US and Canadian dollars fell against other major global currencies. The ranking is based on the price of a basket of luxury goods representing discretionary purchases by HNWIs across the 25 global cities. This year, the list saw major changes as four of the 18 items were replaced as the pandemic shifted consumer spending habits. Personal trainers, wedding banquets, Botox, and pianos were booted out and replaced by bicycles, treadmills, health insurance and a technology package, including laptop and phone. - CNBC