via Mercer.com 12 June 2012
- Tokyo in Japan is the world’s most expensive city for expatriates; Karachi is the cheapest
- Most European cities drop in the ranking; Australian and New Zealand cities surge
- Amsterdam drops 7 places to rank 25
The survey covers 214 cities across five continents and measures the comparative cost of over 200 items in each location, including transport, food, clothing, household goods and entertainment. The cost of housing is also included and, as it is often the biggest expense for expatriates, it plays an important part in determining where cities are ranked. Mercer's cost-of-living survey is the world’s most comprehensive and is designed to help multinational companies and governments determine compensation allowances for their expatriate employees. New York is used as the base city and all cities are compared against it. Currency movements are measured against the US dollar.
About European cities
At number four in the global ranking, Moscow remains the most expensive city in Europe for expatriates. Geneva follows in fifth position and Zurich in sixth (up one place from last year). The next European city in the ranking, Bern (14), is up two places from last year, following the strengthening of the Swiss franc against the US dollar.
With a few exceptions, the remaining European cities have all dropped in the rankings, mainly due to a considerable weakening of local currencies, including the euro, against the US dollar. Oslo (18) is down three places from 2011, whereas the next European city on the list, London (25) is down seven places. In 28th position, St. Petersburg is up one place. Paris (37) is down 10 places, whereas Milan (38), Rome (42), Stockholm (46), Vienna (48) and Amsterdam (57) are all down from seven to 13 places. Helsinki (65) and Prague (69) have both slid down the list, 23 and 22 places respectively. Brussels (71) dropped a more moderate nine places, followed by Dublin (72) – down 14 places. Ranking 207, Skopje, Macedonia, is the least expensive city for expatriates in Europe.
Ms Constantin-Métral explained: “Despite some marked price increases across the region in the first half of last year and widespread increases in VAT charges, most European cities dropped in the ranking. This is mainly due to the unstable economic situation across Europe, which has led to the depreciation of most local currencies against the US dollar. Countries badly hit by the Eurozone crisis, including Greece, Italy and Spain, have also experienced drops in rental accommodation prices.”
Top 10 most expensive cities 2012 (rank 2011)
1. Tokyo (2)
2. Luanda (1)
3. Osaka (6)
4. Moscow (4)
5. Geneva (5)
6. Singapore (8)
6. Zurich (7)
8. N'Djamena, Chad (3)
9. Hong Kong (9)
10. Nagoya (11)
57. Amsterdam (50)