The Lux List / Billionaires

Asian cities half of top 10 costliest expat destinations

Hong Kong is the second most expensive city in the world for expatriates to live in, according to a survey conducted by global consulting firm Mercer.

Jun 18, 2015 | By AFPRelaxnews

helicopter hong kong

Asia has become one of the most expensive regions for people working abroad, according to a new survey, with its major cities accounting for half of the top 10 costliest expat destinations.

Hong Kong climbed one place from last year to become the world’s second most expensive place for expats, Mercer said in its annual Cost of Living Survey on Tuesday, with Singapore, Shanghai, Beijing and Seoul also making the shortlist.

Much of the change in rankings is down to currency fluctuations, with the appreciation of the yuan against the dollar pushing up the cost of living in China, which now accounts for nine of the top 30 most expensive expat cities in the world.

“Chinese cities jumped in the ranking due to the strengthening of the Chinese yuan along with the high costs of expatriate consumer goods,” said Mercer executive Nathalie Constantin-Metral in a statement.

By contrast Tokyo, ranked the most expensive city for expats in 2012, fell four places from last year to number 11 due to a slump in the Japanese currency after a massive easing programme by its central bank.

Overall, the cost of living in Western European cities dropped due to a slide in the euro. The three cities that made the top 10 — Zurich, Geneva and Bern — use the Swiss Franc, which jumped in January after the central bank removed a ceiling on its strength.

Leading the rankings was the Angolan capital Luanda, which retained its top spot due to the high price of imported goods and security services used by many foreigners.

The survey by the Mercer consulting group compares the cost of over 200 items in 207 cities, including housing, food, transport and entertainment.

It takes New York as its base city for comparison, and measures currency movements against the dollar, which has appreciated significantly from a year ago as the health of the US economy has improved.

Here are the top and bottom 10 from the list

Top 10

1. Luanda, Angola
2. Hong Kong
3. Zurich, Switzerland
4. Singapore
5. Geneva, Switzerland
6. Shanghai
7. Beijing
8. Seoul
9. Bern, Switzerland
10. N’Djamena, Chad

Bottom 10

198. Tbilisi, Georgia
199. Managua, Nicaragua
200. Cape Town, South Africa
201. Minsk, Belarus
202. Banjul, Gambia
203. Skopje, Republic of Macedonia
204. Tunis, Tunisia
205. Karachi, Pakistan
206. Windhoek, Namibia
207. Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan

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