Eight out of the 10 most expensive cities in the world for expatriates are in Asia. The comparison is measured through currency movements against the dollar and takes into account the cost of living for housing, transportation, food, clothing, household goods and entertainment.
This year's survey included 500 cities around the globe. Interestingly, the majority of the cities within Europe, Australia and Africa have fallen in the rankings. Alternatively, we have seen a climb among U.S. cities due to the dollar being strong.
With the fluctuation of all currencies and depending on where you place your expatriates on assignment, we highly recommend doing at least an annual review of the allowance-based benefits for all your active assignments. This is to ensure that the fluctuations of the cost of living are kept up to date with what the expatriates are receiving.
For the second year running, Hong Kong tops the list because of the high cost of expatriate consumer goods – much of it due to prices pegged to the strength of the dollar – and a "dynamic" housing market.Tokyo, Singapore and Seoul occupy the next three places, while Zurich and New York are the only non-Asian cities to appear in the top ten.Mercer's annual survey, which is recognised as one of the world’s most comprehensive, is designed to help multinational companies and governments determine compensation allowances for their expatriate employees.