Women especially in China are playing an increasingly big role in Asia’s luxury spending. That is a key finding of Wealth Report Asia 2018, Bank Julius Baer’s latest look into high-end consumption in the region released at 4th December.

Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands, Singapore

The overall report tracks luxury expenditure trends of Asia’s high-net-worth individuals – those who have net investible wealth of US$1 million (S$1.36 million) or more, excluding their main residence.

Shanghai is the most expensive Asian city in the latest ranking, overtaking Hong Kong, which has fallen to third behind Singapore.

Singapore trails Shanghai, which overtook Hong Kong on a price-weighted basis. According to Julius Baer, Shanghai is the most expensive city for six items on its index – hospital accommodation, watches, handbags, wine, jewellery and skin cream.

In contrast, Kuala Lumpur remains Asia’s most inexpensive city for luxury goods and services, particularly residential property, hotel accommodation, wine, jewellery, pianos and cars, compared to other Asian cities, stated the report.

Meanwhile, Kuala Lumpur remains the least expensive city on the list and most competitive place for items such as properties, wine, , pianos and cigars being the lowest out of the 11 cities measured in the report.

Nevertheless, Singapore remains appealing for both talents and investments, and its economy is projected to grow 3% in 2018 before slowing to 2.5% in 2019, according to the report.

“In the short run, a strengthening USD, worsening trade spat and China’s economic slowdown will be a drag on the SGD,” Julius Baer stated. “However in the longer term, we believe strong fundamentals and greater economic productivity will support the SGD.”