Tokyo is the most expensive place for expats to live in the world followed by Oslo and Geneva, according to a new survey by consultancy ECA International.
It also shows that Singapore has leapfrogged rival regional financial centre Hong Kong for the first time as one of the most expensive places for expats. It is now the sixth costliest city in Asia, up two notches from a year ago.
Hong Kong, in contrast, fell to ninth from sixth and now ranks behind Beijing and Shanghai in terms of cost.
‘While such increases are unlikely to deter companies from relocating staff to Singapore, it does mean that costs of sending staff to Singapore will rise,’ said ECA regional director Lee Quane.
‘This may erode some of the cost advantages that Singapore previously had over other destinations in the region in terms of the cost of relocating an employee,’ he added.
For the third year running, Oslo is the most expensive location in Europe while globally, the Norwegian capital has risen from sixth to second place.
Oslo is followed by Geneva and Zurich in Switzerland. Despite the value of the Swiss franc falling against major currencies in the aftermath of the Swiss National Bank’s move to set a minimum exchange rate against the euro, Swiss locations remain in the top ten most expensive locations globally.
Despite much turmoil in the eurozone, the euro has strengthened on average against other major currencies over the last year. As a result, locations in the zone have risen in the ranking, while those in the US, for example, and in locations where the currency is pegged to the US dollar, such as Hong Kong, have typically fallen.
Within Europe, Turkish locations have fallen furthest in the ranking. The capital Ankara fell 99 places between surveys, a result of a much weakened Turkish lira against major currencies.
Caracas continues to be the most expensive location in the Americas at 17 in the global ranking. The Venezuelan capital is followed by Rio de Janeiro, placed 22 globally, and Sao Paolo in 29th position.
Vancouver, placed 43rd globally, is the most costly location in North America. New York’s Manhattan is in 46th position, down from last year’s 28th place. Locations across the United States have seen some of the biggest falls in the global ranking, largely due to the depreciation of the US dollar against many major currencies.
Having fallen from most expensive location globally to 2nd place last year, Angola’s capital, Luanda, continues to fall down the ranking. It is currently in 11th position but remains the most expensive location in Africa. Many items typically purchased by assignees in Luanda have to be imported into a country where the infrastructure remains severely damaged after years of war and as a consequence are very expensive. Alexandria in Egypt, ranked 235th, is the least expensive.
Overall, locations across the Middle East have fallen in the ranking. Israeli locations are by far the most expensive locations for expatriates in the region. Tel Aviv is in 32nd place globally, down 14 places from a year ago. In contrast, Dubai is ranked 180th while Jeddah, in 232nd position, is the least costly location surveyed in the region.