The Republic is now the 16th most expensive location globally for expatriates, up two places from 18th last year, according to ECA International’s latest Cost of Living survey released on Wednesday (Dec 14).Singapore has risen from 33rd to 16th over the past five years.
“The Singapore dollar has appreciated against most major currencies in the months leading up to our survey. Despite low price rises, the impact of the stronger currency means that where companies provide cost of living allowances to their international executives assigned to Singapore, these will likely need to be raised to ensure that employee purchasing power is maintained,” said Mr Lee Quane, ECA’s regional director of Asia.
Tokyo overtook Zurich to take the global top spot this year for the first time since 2012. Four other Japanese cities were also featured in the top 20 global ranking, They are Yokohama (5th), Nagoya (7th) and Osaka (9th).
Hong Kong, on the other hand, saw its ranking slip from 9th place last year to 11th place this year.
Other Asia Pacific cities that made it into the top 20 include: Seoul (12th), Shanghai (13th), Beijing (15th) and Busan (17th).
The relative strength of the Japanese yen in the survey period was the reason Japan overtook Hong Kong this year, said ECA International. At the same time, the slight depreciation of the renminbi against the yen and HK dollar over the past year led to Shanghai and Beijing falling below Tokyo and Hong Kong in the rankings.
But Mr Quane said: “This does not truly follow the general trend seen in China over the past five years, during which locations in Mainland China have averaged an 88 place increase in the global rankings. It is likely that major Chinese cities will remain expensive destinations for mobile employees for the foreseeable future.”
ECA International’s main cost of living surveys are carried out in March and September using day-to-day goods and services commonly purchased by assignees such as food and motoring.
Living costs such as accommodation rental, utilities charges and school fees are not included in the survey.