Luanda in Angola is the world’s most expensive city for expatriates, according to the latest Cost of Living Survey from Mercer.

For the first time, three African cities – Luanda, Ndjamena and Libreville in Gabon (7) – were among the 10 most expensive cities.

The top ten also includes three Asian cities; Tokyo (2), Osaka (6) and Hong Kong (jointly ranked 8).

Moscow (4), Geneva (5) and Zurich (joint 8) are the most expensive European cities, followed by Copenhagen (10).

The other most expensive cities in Europe were Oslo (11), Milan (15), London and Paris (both 17).

Our cities are selected based on requests from our multinational clients,” Mercer senior researcher Nathalie Constantin-Metral said in a statement with the survey.

“We’ve seen demand increase for information on African cities from across the business spectrum – mining, financial services, airlines, manufacturers, utilities and energy companies.”

Brazil’s commercial capital Sao Paulo (21) was the most expensive city in all of the Americas, a result of the strengthening of the real currency against the dollar.

In the United States, New York (27) was the most expensive city, followed by Los Angeles (55). The least expensive US city was Winston Salem (197).

“The weakening of the US dollar against a number of other currencies, combined with a decrease in the cost of rental accommodation, has pulled US cities down the rankings,” Constantin-Metral said.

The survey covers 214 cities across five continents and measures the comparative cost of over 200 items in each location.

It is one of the world’s most comprehensive cost of living survey and is used to help multinational companies and governments determine compensation allowance for their expatriate employees.

New York is used as the base city for the index and all cities are compared against New York. Currency movements are measured against the US dollar.

The cost of housing – often the biggest expense for expats – plays an important part in determining where cities are ranked.

Source: Mercer - Photo: Reuters