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News : International Last Updated: Apr 24, 2009 - 5:31:05 PM


World Cost of Living Survey 2007: Moscow heads ranking of most expensive global cites; Dublin in 16th place
By Finfacts Team
Jun 18, 2007 - 6:25:00 AM

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  • Moscow remains the world’s most expensive city for expatriates; Asuncion in Paraguay is the cheapest
  • European cities dominate the top of the list
  • Many North American cities have dropped sharply in the rankings
  • London climbs three places to rank second 
The Kremlin, Moscow
Moscow is the world’s most expensive city for expatriates for the second consecutive year, according to the latest Cost of Living Survey from Mercer Human Resource Consulting. London is in second position, climbing three places since last year. Seoul moves down one place in the ranking to take third place, followed by Tokyo in fourth. Asuncion in Paraguay is the least expensive city for the fifth year running.

With New York as the base city scoring 100 points, Moscow scores 134.4 and is over two-and-a-half times costlier than Asuncion, which has an index of 50. Even so, the gap between the world’s most and least expensive cities appears to be narrowing.   

Mercer’s survey covers 143 cities* across six continents and measures the comparative cost of over 200 items in each location, including housing, transport, food, clothing, household goods and entertainment. It is the world’s most comprehensive cost of living survey and is used to help multinational companies and governments determine compensation allowances for their expatriate employees.

“There have been some significant changes in the rankings since last year. These are primarily due to exchange rate fluctuations - in particular, the weakening of the US Dollar and strengthening of the Euro,” said Rebecca Powers, a principal and senior consultant at Mercer. 

She added: “As companies continue to send employees on expatriate assignments, they must closely monitor changes in cost of living to ensure their expatriate compensation packages are fair and competitive.”

Europe, Middle East and Africa

Moscow is the most expensive city in Europe and in the rest of the world, for the second year running, with a score of 134.4 (compared with 123.9 in 2006).  “The appreciation of the Rouble against the US Dollar, combined with ever-increasing accommodation charges, has driven up costs for expatriates in Moscow,” said Yvonne Traber, research manager and senior associate at Mercer.

London has climbed three positions to second place in the ranking (score 126.3). “Steep property rental costs, together with the strengthening of the British Pound compared to the US Dollar, have contributed to the city’s high ranking,” commented Yvonne Traber.

Other costly European cities include Copenhagen in 6th place (110.2), Geneva in 7th (109.8) and Zurich in 9th (107.6). Oslo remains in 10th place with a score of 105.8 while Milan climbs two places to position 11 (104.4). Sofia in Bulgaria is Europe’s least expensive city in 108th place with a score of 72.5.

The strengthening of the Euro has resulted in a number of European cities moving significantly up the ranking this year. For example, Stockholm has moved up from 36th position to reach 23rd place (score 93.1) while Amsterdam has climbed from 41st position to 25th (92.2). Cities in Spain, Greece, Germany and the UK also rank notably higher this year.

Dublin rose two ranks to 16th place.

Yvonne Traber commented: “The relative strength of the Euro and other European currencies, including the Swiss Franc and the Swedish, Danish and Norwegian Krone, has pushed up the living costs faced by expatriates in many European countries.”

Tel Aviv is the costliest city in the Middle East. The Israeli city ranks in 17th place and scores 97.7.  Dubai and Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates have moved down in the ranking this year. The main reason for this drop is that the UAE Dirham is pegged to the US Dollar. The majority of African cities covered by the survey come in the bottom half of the ranking.  

The report measures the cost of 200 items such as housing, clothing and food in 143 cities on six continents.

The most expensive place to rent a luxury two-bedroom unfurnished apartment was Tokyo, at €3,118 (£2,110) per month, and the cheapest Johannesburg, at just €724 (£490).

And while a coffee in Moscow will set you back €4.64 (£3.14), in Buenos Aires it will cost less than €1.48 (£1).

The high cost of accommodation and a favourable exchange rate against the US dollar were the key factors behind Moscow's continued dominance of the annual cost-of-living survey, Mercer said.

Exchange rates used in attached table of cost comparisons:

1 GBP = 1.944390 USD
1 GBP = 1.476181 EUR

COST OF LIVING AROUND THE WORLD
  Rent of flat Bus/tube ticket Music CD Intnl paper Cup of coffee Burger meal
Moscow €3,037/
£2,057
N/A €18.85
/£12.77
€4.78
/£3.24
€4.64
/£3.14
€3.65
/£2.47
London €2,952/
£2,000
€4,43
/£3
€19.17
/£12.99
€1.77
/£1.20
€2.95
/£2
€5.74
/£3.89
Tokyo €3,115
/£2,110
€1.95
/£1.32
€12.00
/£8.13
€1
/£0.66
€3.44
/£2.33
€4.08
/£2.77
Copen
hagen
€1,745
/£1,182
€2.55
/£1.73
€20.66
£14.00
€2.40/
£1.64
€3.76
/£2.55
€7,36
/£4.99
Dublin €1,200
/£812
€1.51
/£1.02
€20.00
/£29.50
€2.10
/£1.40
€3.00
/£2.00
€6.50
/£4.40
New York €3,037/
£2,057
€1.52
/£1.03
€13.22
/£8.96
€1.24
/£0.84
€2.85
/£1.93
€4.32
/£2.93
Beijing €2,156/
£1,461
N/A €16.66
/£11.29
€3.04
/£2.06
€3.42
/£2.32
€2.00
/£1.36
Sydney €1,547
/£1,048
€1.48
/£1.01
€14.83
/£10.05
€2.67
/£1.81
€2.08
/£1.41
€3.84
/£2.60
Vancouver €1,033
/£700
€1.50
/£0.98
€14.85
/£10.06
€2.40
/£1.64
€2.09
/£1.42
€3.22
/£2.18
Johann-esburg €723
/£490
N/A €16.52
/£11.19
€2.50
/£1.68
€1.46
/£0.98
€2.07
/£1.40
Buenos
Aires
€1,063
/£720
€0.25
/£0.18
€8.58
/£5.81
€4.40
/£2.99
€1.34
/£0.91
€3.30
/£2.24
Source: Mercer Human Resource Consulting

 

The Americas

New York remains the most expensive city in North America but drops five places to position 15 (score 100).  Other North American cities have dropped more steeply and only New York and Los Angeles (position 42, score 87.1) rank in the top 50 cities.

“The decline of most US cities in the ranking can be attributed to the depreciation of the US dollar against the Euro and other major currencies worldwide.  The change reflects a reversal of the situation experienced this time last year, when the majority of US cities climbed the ranking due to the strength of the dollar,” said Powers.

Toronto, the most expensive city in Canada, has dropped 35 places to position 82 (score 78.8). Calgary and Vancouver have also tumbled down the rankings, sliding from 71st place to 92nd  and 56th to 89th respectively. Ottawa remains the cheapest Canadian city in 109th position scoring 72.3. Canadian cities have traditionally rated favourably in the worldwide ranking. The new scores reflect a low rate of inflation and stable housing prices. In addition, while it has appreciated slightly against the US Dollar, the Canadian Dollar has depreciated nearly 13% against the Euro since last year’s survey.

Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro have dropped significantly in the ranking, but remain the most expensive cities in Latin America. Sao Paulo is now placed 62nd, compared with 34th in 2006, and is followed by Rio de Janeiro in 64th place (position 40 in 2006). Although the Brazilian Real has remained stable against the US Dollar over the last 12 months, the Brazilian cities surveyed have been pushed down the ranking as they give way to European cities that are ascending due to the buoyancy of the Euro.

Globally, the least costly city is Asuncion in Paraguay for the fifth consecutive year (score 50). Other low-ranking cities include Karachi, Quito and Montevideo in 142nd (score 56.1), 141st (56.3) and 140th place (58.4) respectively.

Asia

Four of the world’s top 10 costliest cities for expatriates are in Asia. Seoul ranks in 3rd place (score 122.4), Tokyo in 4th (122.1) and Hong Kong in 5th (119.4) – all have been pushed down one place this year.

Chinese cities have moved down the ranking this year. Beijing ranks 20th and scores 95.9, while Shanghai is in 26th place with a score of 92.1. Over the past 12 months, the value of the Chinese Yuan has decreased by around 6% against the Euro. This factor, together with a low inflation rate and stable property rental prices, has kept the major Chinese cities from moving up the ranking. Accommodation costs have not escalated because, while demand is increasing, the availability of high-quality rentals in these cities is also good.

In contrast, elsewhere in Asia, the cost of international-standard accommodation has pushed some cities up the ranking. For example, sharp increases in house prices have contributed to Singapore climbing from 17th to 14th position. Rising property prices have also caused Indian cities to move up the ranking – for example, Mumbai has jumped from position 68 to 52 (score 84.9).     

Australasia

Wellington is the least costly city in this region in 111th place with a score of 71.8.  Auckland climbs one place to rank 99th (score 73.9). Expatriates in Australia continue to face higher living costs than their counterparts in New Zealand. Sydney remains the most expensive city in Australia at position 21 with a score of 94.9. Melbourne occupies position 60, up 14 places from last year, and scores 82.5. Adelaide is in 96th place (score 74.7).

*Harare are been excluded from this year’s rankings because the severe economic crisis in Zimbabwe has rendered costs there incomparable.  

Mercer Human Resource Consulting

Cost of Living Survey - Worldwide Ranking 2007

(including housing)

 

Top 50

 

 

Base City: New York, USA (=100)

 

Rankings

 

Cost of Living index

March 2007

March 2006

City

Country

 

March 2007

 

March 2006

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1

1

MOSCOW

Russia

 

134.4

 

123.9

2

5

LONDON

United Kingdom

 

126.3

 

110.6

3

2

SEOUL

South Korea

 

122.4

 

121.7

4

3

TOKYO

Japan

 

122.1

 

119.1

5

4

HONG KONG

Hong Kong

 

119.4

 

116.3

6

8

COPENHAGEN

Denmark

 

110.2

 

101.1

7

7

GENEVA

Switzerland

 

109.8

 

103

8

8

OSAKA

Japan

 

108.4

 

108.3

9

9

ZURICH

Switzerland

 

107.6

 

100.8

10

10

OSLO

Norway

 

105.8

 

100

11

13

MILAN

Italy

 

104.4

 

96.9

12

12

ST. PETERSBURG

Russia

 

103

 

99.7

13

15

PARIS

France

 

101.4

 

93.1

14

17

SINGAPORE

Singapore

 

100.4

 

92

15

10

NEW YORK CITY, NY

United States

 

100

 

100

16

18

DUBLIN

Ireland

 

99.6

 

91.8

17

24

TEL AVIV

Israel

 

97.7

 

89.7

18

21

ROME

Italy

 

97.6

 

89.8

19

21

VIENNA

Austria

 

96.9

 

89.8

20

14

BEIJING

China

 

95.9

 

94.9

21

19

SYDNEY

Australia

 

94.9

 

91.3

22

25

HELSINKI

Finland

 

93.3

 

87.8

23

36

STOCKHOLM

Sweden

 

93.1

 

84.8

24

27

DOUALA

Cameroon

 

92.9

 

87.6

25

41

AMSTERDAM

Netherlands

 

92.2

 

83.4

26

53

MADRID

Spain

 

92.1

 

81.6

26

20

SHANGHAI

China

 

92.1

 

91.2

28

21

KIEV

Ukraine

 

91.4

 

89.8

29

59

ATHENS

Greece

 

90.6

 

81.1

30

52

ALMATY

Kazakhstan

 

89.6

 

81.9

31

56

BARCELONA

Spain

 

89.2

 

81.2

31

48

BRATISLAVA

Slovak Republic

 

89.2

 

82.4

33

45

DAKAR

Senegal

 

89

 

82.8

34

25

DUBAI

United Arab Emirates

 

88.8

 

87.8

35

45

ABIDJAN

Cote d'Ivoire

 

88.3

 

82.8

36

60

GLASGOW

United Kingdom

 

88.1

 

80.7

37

31

LAGOS

Nigeria

 

88

 

85.5

38

15

ISTANBUL

Turkey

 

87.7

 

93.1

39

61

MUNICH

Germany

 

87.6

 

80.2

40

61

FRANKFURT

Germany

 

87.4

 

80.5

41

69

BIRMINGHAM

United Kingdom

 

87.2

 

79.7

42

29

LOS ANGELES, CA

United States

 

87.1

 

86.7

43

56

LUXEMBOURG

Luxembourg

 

87

 

81.2

44

70

BRUSSELS

Belgium

 

86.5

 

79.5

45

30

ABU DHABI

United Arab Emirates

 

85.9

 

86

45

72

BERLIN

Germany

 

85.9

 

79.2

45

62

DUSSELDORF

Germany

 

85.9

 

80.4

48

28

TAIPEI

Taiwan

 

85.8

 

86.8

49

50

PRAGUE

Czech Republic

 

85.6

 

82.1

50

51

ALGIERS

Algeria

 

85.1

 

82


Β© Copyright 2009 by Finfacts.com

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