Which is the world’s most expensive city to live as an expat?

Top 50 most expensive cities worldwide for international assignees

Tokyo, the long-standing costliest place in the world to be an expat, has finally been overtaken by Oslo, due in part to the strength of the Krone and the huge revenues the country brings in from its rich oil reserves.

These were among the findings of the latest cost of living research by ECA International, the world’s leader in providing solutions for the management of international assignments. The survey takes into account inflation, exchange rates, goods that expats typically buy and rental expenses to work out an average cost of living.

At the top of the global list, Oslo is followed by the Angolan capital of Luanda, where the goods and services commonly purchased by expatriates are difficult to access and command a premium. Stavanger (Norway), Juba (South Sudan) and Moscow (Russia) are also now more expensive than Tokyo. These cities make up the top 5 most expensive locations for expatriates globally.

“Tokyo has always been an expensive place for global companies to send staff, and, despite its five-place fall since last year, that remains the case,” said Anna Michielsen, ECA’s General Manager, Australia, New Zealand & Pacific. “The significant depreciation of the Yen against other major currencies in recent months is the primary reason for this drop. It means that for many companies, the cost of maintaining their assignees’ purchasing power while posted there has fallen. But it’s important not to exaggerate the position – Tokyo is still the world’s sixth most expensive city, and the most expensive in Asia.”

Sydney remains the most expensive Australian location surveyed. It is the 17th most costly location for expatriate globally followed by Canberra (23rd), Perth (27th), Melbourne (28th), Adelaide (30th), Darwin (34th) and Brisbane (35th).

Within Europe, the Norwegian capital is followed by Stavanger (3rd globally) and Moscow (5th). The Russian Rouble has weakened between surveys against major currencies but the cost of goods and services in ECA’s basket in Moscow has nevertheless increased more than 10% again this year.

Despite falls in prices and the Swiss Franc weakening against other major currencies over the past year, Swiss locations remain among the top ten most expensive locations for expatriates in the world.

Despite dropping down the ranking, Caracas, ranked 33rd globally, remains the most expensive location in the Americas for international assignees. Manhattan and Vancouver follow, ranking 43rd and 51st respectively.

Indian locations continue to be among the region’s cheapest in terms of cost of living for international assignees. New Delhi, ranked 200th globally is followed by Mumbai (215th). Karachi, ranked 256th globally, is the least expensive Asian location for expatriates.

Source: ECA International. For the full summary, please see World’s most expensive expat cities.

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