Shanghai named most expensive city for expats in Asia Pacific region

by Ray Clancy on January 7, 2016

Shanghai is the most expensive city for expats in the Asia Pacific region while 14 Chinese cities are in the top 50 globally in terms of living costs.

The Chinese city has moved from third place in the ECA International cost of living survey rankings and Beijing is now second in the region, Guangzhou sixth and Shenzhen seventh.

shanghai“In spite of the minor depreciation in the renminbi against the dollar over the summer, it has strengthened against most other currencies leading to Shanghai becoming the most expensive Asian city for international assignees,” said Lee Quane, regional director for Asia at ECA International.

“This reflects the general trend seen in China with Chinese locations gradually moving up our rankings over recent years. It is likely that major Chinese cities will remain expensive destinations for mobile executives for the foreseeable future,” added Quane.

Hong Kong is the world’s ninth most expensive locations, up 17 places and from a regional perspective, it has become the third most expensive city for expats. ECA points out that in 2015 the dollar appreciated against most currencies contributing to Hong Kongís rise in the rankings.

Australian locations continue to fall significantly down the rankings, a reflection of the weakened Australian dollar as growth there slows. Sydney remains the most expensive city in Australia, however, it currently ranks 80th globally down from last year’s 27th place.

New Delhi is the most expensive location in India for expats, up 21 places to 174th position globally. From a regional perspective, New Delhi has remained steady in the regional ranking, moving up to 43rd place from 45th last year. Mumbai in 192nd position globally has risen 28 places while Chennai at 211th jumped 22 spots.

“The rupee’s significant appreciation against the euro and other developing country currencies, has pushed up costs for many expatriates despite prices in ECA’s shopping basket increasing at a slower rate this year than last year,”said Steven Kilfedder, manager for cost of living and remuneration services.

ECA International has been conducting research into cost of living for more than 40 years. It 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. Certain living costs, such as accommodation rental, utilities, car purchases and school fees are usually covered by separate allowances. Data for these costs are collected separately and are not included in ECA’s cost of living basket.

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