Date
28 March 2017
Hong Kong has become more expensive for expatriates as its currency has strengthened along with the US dollar. Photo: Bloomberg
Hong Kong has become more expensive for expatriates as its currency has strengthened along with the US dollar. Photo: Bloomberg

HK moves into global top 10 most expensive locations for expats

Hong Kong has become the world’s 9th most expensive location for expatriates and the third costliest city in Asia, according to ECA International’s latest Cost of Living survey.

Overall, the city has moved up 17 places from last year’s 26th position globally in terms of living costs for expats, moving back into the top 10 spot, mainly due to a stronger currency.

As the Hong Kong dollar is pegged to the US dollar, the local unit has strengthened along with the greenback, pushing up the costs for those moving to the city from overseas. 

In Asia, only Shanghai and Beijing — which were placed in the 7th and 8th spots globally, were deemed to be more expensive than Hong Kong for expats.  

“Hong Kong’s rise up the rankings is largely due to the relative strength of its currency in the past 12 months,” said Lee Quane, Asia regional director at ECA International.

He noted that the Hong Kong dollar “has appreciated against most major currencies owing to its peg to the US dollar, which has pushed up prices of goods and services compared to those in locations whose currencies have weakened against the greenback.” 

Macau, meanwhile, has climbed 70 places in the global rankings this year to make the global top 30.

The gambling enclave — which took the 29th position globally – saw the largest rank increase in Asia, according to the survey. 

ECA carries out two main surveys per year to help companies calculate cost of living allowances so that their employees’ spending power is not compromised while on international assignment.

The surveys compare a basket of like-for-like consumer goods and services commonly purchased by assignees in over 450 locations worldwide.

The top four expensive locations globally for expatriates were Zurich, Geneva, Bern and Basel — all in Switzerland.

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