Sunday, 28 July 2013

(28-07-2013) The World's Most Expensive Cities For Expats - Bus1nessN3wz

The World's Most Expensive Cities For Expats Jul 28th 2013, 16:05

10 Costliest Cities For Expats

Quick, what's the most expensive place to station an employee overseas? London? Tokyo? Sao Paolo? Try Luanda, Angola.

That's the finding of a survey by Mercer, the global human resources consulting firm. Two African cities were in the top 10, along with four in Europe, three in Asia and one in Australia. Switzerland alone had three cities in the top 10.

Mercer's 2013 Cost of Living Survey examined data from 214 cities worldwide, comparing a market basket of over 200 goods and services, including unfurnished luxury two-bedroom apartments or three-bedroom houses, movie tickets, blue jeans, international newspapers, coffee, fast food restaurant meals, gasoline, milk and soda.

If it sounds odd that Angola would be the most expensive, Mercer's Barb Marder explains that "Despite being one of Africa's major oil producers, Angola is a relatively poor country yet expensive for expatriates since imported goods can be costly. In addition, finding secure living accommodations that meet the standards of expatriates can be challenging and quite costly." The survey found similar supply issues in Ndjamena, Chad, the other top 10 city in Africa.

Mercer measured locations worldwide against New York, on a U.S. dollar basis, meaning that interest rate shifts could impact the rankings. For example, although Tokyo is Asia's most expensive city for expats, the weakening of the Japanese yen against the dollar makes it seem cheaper than it was a year ago. Canada, too, has become a relative bargain as the U.S. dollar strengthens against the Canadian dollar.

Measurements were taken in March, 2013.

What's the trend in the United States? "Overall, U.S. cities either remained stable in the ranking or have slightly decreased due to the movement of the U.S. dollar against the majority of currencies worldwide," explains Mercer's Steven Nurney. However, that may change as real estate prices rise nationwide. New York is the nation's most expensive place to station expats.

While housing is generally the most important factor in the survey rankings, the survey revealed some other stark differences in prices. For example, you may need a vodka chaser after paying $8.29 for a cup of coffee in Moscow, but the equivalent coffee in Managua, Nicaragua would cost only $1.54. Expect to pay $20.10 for a movie ticket in London, versus $5.91 in Johannesburg.