Hong Kong has overtaken Angola's Luanda to be the world's most expensive city for expatriates, while Singapore retained last year's fourth place, according to Mercer's 2016 Cost of Living Survey released on Wednesday (Jun 22).
Hong Kong's ascent to the top was a consequence of Luanda's drop to second in the ranking due to the weakening of its local currency, according to Mercer in its press release. Zurich remained third, while Tokyo makes up the top 5 after climbing six places from last year, it added.
The survey included more than 375 cities throughout the world; this year’s ranking included 209 cities across five continents and measured the comparative cost of more than 200 items in each location, including housing, transportation, food, clothing, household goods, and entertainment., Mercer said. New York City is used as the base city for all comparisons and currency movements are measured against the US dollar.
JAPAN UP, CHINA DOWN
In Asia, Chinese cities mostly fell in the rankings with the exception of Shenzhen, which climbed two places to 12th, the survey showed.
“The strengthening of the Japanese yen pushed Japanese cities up in the ranking,” said Ms Nathalie Constantin-Metral, Principal at Mercer responsible for compiling the ranking. “However, Chinese cities fell in the ranking due to the weakening of the Chinese yuan against the US dollar.”
Australian cities have witnessed some of the most dramatic falls in the ranking this year as the local currency has depreciated against the US dollar.
For instance, Brisbane (96) and Canberra (98) dropped 30 and 33 spots, respectively, while Sydney (42), Australia’s most expensive ranked city for expatriates, experienced a relatively moderate drop of 11 places. Melbourne fell 24 spots to 71, the survey showed.