Asian Cities Dominate the Most Expensive Places for Expats


Hong Kong Famous Night ViewHong Kong is now the second most expensive city in the world for expats, according to the latest Cost of Living Survey from Mercer.

While Angola’s capital, Luanda, took the top spot for 2017, Asian cities continue to dominate the rankings, with five in the top ten.

Seoul climbed to sixth place from 15th, while Mumbai was one of the biggest movers, surging 25 places to 57, due to its rapid economic growth, inflation and stable economy. India’s capital, New Delhi, stands one shy of the century mark, at 99.

Hong Kong, which ECA International also recently ranked as the most expensive city in Asia for expats, is followed by Tokyo (three), Singapore (five), Seoul and Shanghai (eight), according to the Mercer rankings, which are based on a survey conducted in March.

Mercer’s Global Mobility Leader for Asia, Middle East and Africa, Mario Ferraro, comments: “Although a number of Asian cities remain amongst the world’s most expensive cities, key financial hubs such as Hong Kong and Singapore still continue to attract talent and remain a top choice for relocation.

“Although this year’s movements were due mainly to currency fluctuations, in particular against the US dollar, we did see cities, such as Mumbai, move up the ranks due to their strengthening economy and growing opportunities.”

Most Chinese cities fell down the rankings, as the yuan weakened against the dollar, while Japanese destinations climbed on the back of the stronger yen, high cost of expat consumer goods and “dynamic housing market”, adds Mercer’s Nathalie Constantin-Metral, who is responsible for compiling the survey rankings.

New York City and Bern returned to the top ten this year, while Beijing dropped one place, to 11. Zurich and Geneva also featured in the top ten.

Mercer claims that Luanda’s rise to the top was driven by the cost of goods and security.

The annual survey uses New York as its base point of comparison, and includes over 400 cities across five continents, measuring the cost of more than 200 items, including housing, transportation, food, clothing, household goods and entertainment.

Elsewhere, Sydney gained 17 places, to 25, equal with Taipei, while Melbourne and Perth both cracked the top 50 on the strengthening of the Australian dollar.

The Russian ruble’s gains saw Moscow and St. Petersburg soar up the rankings, to 14th and 36th place respectively.

London tumbled 13 places, to 30th, as the pound weakened against the dollar following the Brexit vote.

The world’s least expensive cities for expats is Tunis, according to the survey, followed by Kyrgyzstan’s capital, Bishkek, and Skopje in Macedonia.

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