Hong Kong, Paris and Zurich are the world's three most expensive cities, according to a survey by The Economist Intelligence Unit out Wednesday.

The report said Paris and Zurich had moved up in rank as the cost of living in Asia cities declined slightly this year. Singapore and Osaka in Japan lost their third and fourth spots, respectively.

The EIU said that Singapore fell from the second spot owing to the exodus of foreign workers from the city because of the pandemic.

"With the city state's overall population contracting for the first time since 2003, demand has declined and deflation has set in," the report said.

Two U.S. cities occupied the Top 10 - New York and Los Angeles. Sydney had the highest rank among Australian cities and was 15th in the world.

The EIU said spending habits and the prices of goods were greatly affected by the pandemic. It said while prices of essential goods had remained relatively stable, prices of nonessentials and luxury items had fluctuated wildly in some countries.

The 2020 Worldwide Cost of Living Survey looked at the prices of 138 services and products for each country - ranking them from the most to the least expensive.

The research checked the current prices for common consumer goods and services such as household supplies, food, clothing and cleaning services. The survey included 130 capital cities worldwide.

The cheapest city to live in, according to the list, is the Syrian capital city of Damascus. The war-torn city is slightly cheaper than Tashkent in Uzbekistan.

According to EIU, it had to conduct the survey twice this year to take into account the economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic on prices and incomes.

European nations continued to move up in rank this year. The report said that this was mainly because of the increased value in the euro and the Swiss franc against the U.S. dollar during the past months.

The biggest mover on the list compared with the previous year, is Tehran, which jumped by 27 places as a result of restrictions placed on its economy by the U.S.