TOP 10 COSTLIEST CITIES FOR EXPATRIATES 2014/ 2013
1.Luanda, Angola 2.Moscow, Russia 3.Tokyo, Japan 4.N’Djamena, Chad 5. Singapore, Singapore 6. Hong Kong, Hong Kong 7. Geneva, Switzerland 8. Zurich, Switzerland 9. Bern, Switzerland 10. Sydney, Australia
- - The latest UBS Price and Earnings report,
produced by Switzerland's biggest bank was published.
The report ranks the 72 cities across the
globe, in respect of a number of criteria.
Our survey shows that Oslo, Zurich and Tokyo are the
most expensive cities in the world. Prices for many
goods and services are lowest in the two Indian
metropolises of Delhi and Mumbai. Taking rent into
account as well, the rankings remain unchanged. Tokyo
has ousted Copenhagen to take third place in our price
rankings compared with 2009. One remarkable finding is
that when rents are included, relative price levels
compared to New York move down in all cities except Hong
World Cost of Living 2013/ 2014: The latest
survey from Mercer is designed to help multinational companies and governments determine
compensation allowances for their expatriate employees. New York is used as the
base city, and all cities are compared against it. Currency movements are
measured against the US dollar.
The survey covers 214 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.
Last year, Dublin, Ireland, dropped 14 places in a new
list of the world's most expensive cities, largely due to the euro's
Ireland's capital was ranked at No.72 in the list of
cities. It has a 26th rank in the UBS Bank survey - - for reasons
of comparability, we converted all prices and earnings into a common
currency. In order to minimise the effect of daily price fluctuations,
the average exchange rate during the assessment period was used.
The difference in cost for these items can be dramatic. For example the cost
of a cup of coffee in Managua, Nicaragua is $1.54 compared to $8.29 in Moscow; a
fast food hamburger meal is $3.62 in Kolkata (Calcutta), India, versus $13.49 in
Caracas, and a cinema ticket is $5.91 in Johannesburg compared to $20.10 in
London. These are but a few examples of the thousands of comparisons to be found
in Mercer’s full report that aid employers in setting cost of living and other
Mercer produces individual cost of living and rental accommodation cost
reports for each city surveyed.
The cost of expatriate housing is typically the biggest expense for
employers, and it plays an important part in determining the rankings. The
Russian capital of Moscow follows Luanda as the second most expensive city
because of high costs for rental accommodation and imported goods and services
commonly purchased by expatriates commanding a premium. A luxury two bedroom
unfurnished apartment rental for one month in Moscow is $4,600 a month or 14
times as much than Karachi. Rounding out the top five most expensive cities for
expatriate living, which also have pricey rental accommodations, are Tokyo, the
Chad city Ndjamena, and Singapore.
“Recent world events, including economic and political upheavals, which
resulted in currency fluctuations, cost inflation for goods and services, and
volatility in accommodation prices have impacted these cities making them
expensive,” said Barb Marder, senior partner and Mercer’s Global Mobility
Practice Leader. “Despite being one of Africa’s major oil producers, Angola
is a relatively poor country yet expensive for expatriates since imported goods
can be costly. In addition, finding secure living accommodations that meet the
standards of expatriates can be challenging and quite costly."
The other cities appearing in Mercer’s list of top 10 costliest cities for
expatriates are Hong Kong, Geneva, Bern and Zurich.
According to Marder, “A recent Mercer global mobility survey shows
that all different types of international assignments are on the rise. Given the
increasing numbers of business travelers, global ‘commuters’ and longer-term
expatriates, companies are keeping a close eye on the cost of living for
international assignees in different cities around the world. Organizations need
to evaluate the impact of currency fluctuations, inflation, and political
instability when sending employees on overseas assignments while ensuring they
can facilitate the moves they need to drive the business results by offering
fair and competitive compensation packages.”
Currency fluctuations and the impact of inflation on goods and services have
affected the cost of expatriate programs as well as the city rankings.
“Overall, the cost of living in cities across parts of Europe has gone up
in the ranking as a result of the slight strengthening of local currencies
against the US dollar, whereas in Asia about half of the cities went down in the
ranking – Japan especially – due to local currencies’ weakening against the US
dollar,” said Nathalie Constantin-Métral, Principal at Mercer with
responsibility for compiling the survey ranking.
Four European cities are among the top 10 most expensive despite moderate
price increases in most European countries. Switzerland remains one of the
costliest locations for expatriates despite decreasing or stable accommodation
costs and a robust Swiss franc.
Some African cities rank high in Mercer’s 2013 survey, reflecting high living
costs for expatriate employees.
In the Americas, cities in South America are the most expensive locations for
expatriates. Some cities dropped in the ranking as a result of local currencies
weakening against the US dollar such as Brazilian cities, while others jumped as
a result of high inflation on goods and services and rentals. New York, the base
city for Mercer’s Cost of Living ranking, is the most expensive city in the
“Overall, US cities either remained stable in the ranking or have
slightly decreased due to the movement of the US dollar against the majority of
currencies worldwide,” explained Constantin-Métral. ”Yet several
cities, including New York, moved up in the ranking due to a rise in the rental
Canadian cities generally moved down in the ranking this year as a result of
a slight decrease of the Canadian dollar against the US dollar, and because the
prices of goods and services increased at a lower pace than in New York.