Hong Kong has surpassed Singapore to rank as the most expensive city for expatriates in Asia this year, according to Mercer’s 2014 Cost of Living Survey.
Four out of the top 10 expensive cities worldwide were in Asia, according to the survey released Thursday.
Hong Kong jumped three places from last year to take the third spot in the top 10 expensive cities worldwide, followed by Singapore which gained one position. Tokyo ranked the seventh, dropping four places from a year earlier while Shanghai ranked the 10th.
Among other cities in Asia, Beijing was in the 11th spot, while Seoul was in the 14th position and Shenzhen at No. 17.
“Chinese cities jumped in the ranking, including Shanghai, Beijing, and Shenzhen, due to the strengthening of the Chinese yuan while the Japanese cities dropped due to yen’s weakening against the US dollar,” said Nathalie Constantin-Métral, a Principal at Mercer that oversaw the survey ranking.
Australian cities have witnessed some of the most dramatic falls in the ranking this year as the local currency has depreciated against the US dollar, Mercer said in an emailed statement.
In Southeast Asia, Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia ranked 115th, followed by Indonesia’s Jakarta at the 119th spot. Hanoi jumped three spots to stand in the 131 rank. Mumbai, at No. 140, was India’s most expensive city followed by New Delhi.
Overall, two African cities toped the list. Although not typically recognized as wealthy cities compared to others, Luanda in Angola is the world’s most expensive city for the second year in a row followed by N’Djamena, Chad.
“While Luanda and N’Djamena are relatively inexpensive cities, they are quite costly for expatriates since imported goods come at a premium. In addition, finding secure living accommodations that meet the standards of expatriates can be challenging and costly,” said Ed Hannibal, partner and global leader for Mercer’s Mobility practice.
Zurich, ranked the fifth, was the most expensive city for expatriates in Europe, followed by Geneva in the sixth position.
“Rankings in many regions were affected by recent world events, including economic and political upheavals, which resulted in currency fluctuations, cost inflation for goods and services, and volatility in accommodation prices,” said Hannibal.
The survey covers 211 cities across five continents and measures the comparative cost of over 200 items in each location, including housing, transportation, food, clothing, household goods, and entertainment.
Currency fluctuations and the impact of inflation on goods and services have influenced the cost of expatriate programs as well as the city rankings.
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