Asian cities half of top 10 costli­est ex­pat des­ti­na­tions

The China Post - - INTERNATIONAL -

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.

“Ja­panese cities have con­tin­ued to drop in the rank­ing this year as a re­sult of the Ja­panese yen weak­en­ing against the U.S. dol­lar,” added Con­stantin-Me­tral.

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 U.S. econ­omy has im­proved.

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