25 October 2016
A cup of coffee in Hong Kong costs HK$60, compared with HK$30 in London and HK$23 in New York. Photo: HKEJ
A cup of coffee in Hong Kong costs HK$60, compared with HK$30 in London and HK$23 in New York. Photo: HKEJ

Hong Kong sells world’s most expensive cup of espresso

A cup of espresso in Hong Kong is double the price in London. And for the price of a pair of jeans in the city, you can buy at least two in New York.

Indeed, prices are going up in Hong Kong, which has moved up to second place in the latest ranking of the most expensive cities for expatriates, Sky Post reported on Thursday, citing Mercer Consulting’s Cost of Living rankings for 2015.

Luanda, the capital of oil-rich Angola, still tops the list, but Hong Kong has moved up one level from third place last year. 

The survey analyzes the costs of 200 goods and services from housing to food and leisure in 207 cities worldwide. It uses New York as the base city and the US dollar as the base currency in the calculation.

Connie Leung, principal and business leader for Mercer Hong Kong’s information solution department, said Hong Kong’s climb in the rankings was mainly due to the strength of its currency, which is pegged to the US dollar.

According to the survey, coffee in Hong Kong costs HK$60 a cup, making it the most expensive among the cities covered by the survey.

It only costs HK$30 in London and HK$23 in New York, the report said.

A pair of jeans costs HK$998 in Hong Kong, double the price in New York.

Alexa Chow, managing director of AMAC Human Resources Consultants, said many global companies grant housing allowances to their expatriate employees in Hong Kong to help them cope with the higher cost of living.

But the normal HK$40,000 housing allowance for management-level expatriates in Hong Kong can hardly cope with rising rentals in the city.

Those who used to live in Mid-Levels, for example, had to move to Taikoo Shing in Quarry Bay to make do with their housing allowance, Chow said.

Apart from Hong Kong, four other Asian cities were also listed in the top 10 most expensive postings for expats. Singapore ranked fourth, Shanghai sixth, Beijing seventh and Seoul eighth.

Tokyo, which topped the Mercer list in 2012, fell to 11th place this year from fourth in 2014, as value of the Japanese yen plunged after the central bank rolled out a slew of quantitative easing measures.

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