Asia has some of the most expensive cities for expats

Mercer’s annual Cost of Living Survey finds African, Asian, and European cities dominating the list of most expensive locations for expats working abroad:

Five of the top 10 cities in this year’s ranking are in Asia with Hong Kong (2) being the most expensive city thanks to its currency being pegged to the US dollar (which drove up the cost of expat accommodations locally). Hong Kong was followed by Tokyo (3), Singapore (5), Seoul (6), and Shanghai (8). Ms. Constantin-Métral, the Principal at Mercer with responsibility for compiling the survey ranking, commented:

“The strengthening of the Japanese yen along with the high costs of expatriate consumer goods and a dynamic housing market pushed Japanese cities up in the ranking. However, the majority of Chinese cities fell in the ranking due to the weakening of the Chinese yuan against the US dollar.”

Meanwhile, Mumbai (57) was India’s most expensive city – climbing twenty-five places in the ranking due to its rapid economic growth, inflation on the goods and services basket and a stable currency against the US Dollar. This most populous city in India is followed by New Delhi (99) and Chennai (135) which rose in the ranking by thirty-one and twenty-three spots, respectively. Bengaluru (166) and Kolkata (184) were the least expensive Indian cities, but they still climbed in the ranking as well.

Elsewhere in Asia, Bangkok (67) rose seven places from last year while Jakarta (88) rose five places and Hanoi (100) rose six places.

Mercer’s annual Cost of Living Survey uses New York as the base city with all cities compared against it while currency movements are measured against the US dollar. The survey includes over 400 cities across five continents and measures the comparative cost of more than 200 items in each location, including housing, transportation, food, clothing, household goods and entertainment.


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