Hong Kong: ninth-most expensive place to be an expat

After dropping out of the top-ten in 2016, Hong Kong is now the world’s ninth-most expensive location for expatriates. In the Asia-Pacific region it is the second-most expensive location, only topped by Tokyo, Japan, which also comes in at number eight in the world. The list was recently released by the ECA international, which includes rankings of over 260 places worldwide.

“Hong Kong has now overtaken cities in Japan to reclaim its place in the top ten most expensive locations. Faster rates of price increases in Hong Kong combined with a strengthening of the dollar against the yen both contributed to Hong Kong leapfrogging many of the Japanese locations that were ranked above it last year.” Lee Quane, Regional Director – Asia, ECA International said.

Asian cities dominate the list of top 50 most expensive locations, making up over half the entries. Other Asian cities in the top 20 in the world are Seoul (11), Shanghai (12), Beijing (16), Yokohama (18), Nagoya (19), and Osaka (20). The three last Japanese cities were all in top-ten last year.

Singapore has fallen in the rankings and is now the 21st most expensive city surveyed. This is the first time since 2014 that Singapore has not featured in the top 20.

Three Scandinavian cities are also to find in the top-20: Oslo (7), Stavanger (10), and Copenhagen (14).

The most expensive city in the world for expats is Angola’s capital Luanda:

“The cost of goods typically purchased by international assignees in Luanda, which was already high due to poor infrastructure and high oil-fuelled demand, continues to be pushed even higher. The Angolan kwanza is increasingly overvalued, which pushes up relative costs; while the ongoing weakness of the black-market exchange rate has also inflated the price of imported goods,” Lee Quane explained.

ECA International is the world’s leading provider of knowledge, information and software for the management and assignment of employees around the world. ECA International has been conducting research into cost of living for over 45 years. It carries out two cost of living surveys per year to help companies calculate cost of living allowances so that their employees’ spending power is not compromised while on international assignment. The surveys compare a basket of like-for-like consumer goods and services commonly purchased by assignees in 262 locations worldwide. Certain living costs, such as accommodation rental, utilities, car purchases and school fees are usually covered by separate allowances. Data for these costs are collected separately and are not included in ECA’s cost of living basket.

Global top 20 most expensive locations
Location 2017 ranking 2016 ranking
Luanda 1 2
Khartoum 2 21
Zurich 3 3
Geneva 4 4
Basel 5 6
Bern 6 8
Oslo 7 14
Tokyo 8 1
Hong Kong 9 11
Stavanger 10 20
Seoul 11 12
Shanghai 12 13
Tel Aviv 13 19
Copenhagen 14 23
Jerusalem 15 22
Beijing 16 15
Kinshasa 17 10
Yokohama 18 5
Nagoya 19 7
Osaka 20 9
Top 20 most expensive locations in Asia-Pacific region
Location 2017 ranking 2016 ranking
Tokyo 1 1
Hong Kong 2 5
Seoul 3 6
Shanghai 4 7
Beijing 5 8
Yokohama 6 2
Nagoya 7 3
Osaka 8 4
Singapore 9 9
Busan 10 10
Guangzhou 11 11
Ulsan 12 12
Macau 13 13
Shenzhen 14 14
Taipei 15 15
Chengdu 16 17
Dalian 17 16
Qingdao 18 21
Nanjing 19 18
Xi’an 20 22

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