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Mercer’s 25th annual Cost of Living Survey finds cities in Asia most expensive locations for employees working abroad

June 27, 2019 Statistics & Trends No Comments Email Email

Eight of the world’s top 10 most expensive cities are located in Asia as a result of the region’s high costs for consumer goods and a dynamic housing market, while Australian cities continue to fall significantly in the ranking, according to Mercer’s 25th annual 2019 Cost of Living Survey.

Hong Kong tops the list as the world’s costliest city for the second consecutive year with the local housing market increasingly out of reach for many. Other cities appearing in the top 10 are Tokyo (2), Singapore (3), Seoul (4), Zurich (5), Shanghai (6), Ashgabat (7), Beijing (8), New York City (9), and Shenzhen (10).

Ashgabat in Turkmenistan saw the biggest rise in rankings, jumping an astonishing 36 places from 43rd in 2018, as a result of the country’s shortage of currency and imported goods driving up prices.

Australian cities fell as much as 26 places with Sydney the highest ranking Australian city at 50 (29 in 2018), followed by Melbourne at 79 place (58 in 2018), Perth at 87 (61 in 2018), Canberra at 96 (77 in 2018), Brisbane at 103 (84 in 2018), and Adelaide at 109 (87 in 2018).

Karla Costa, Mercer’s Global Mobility Leader for Pacific, said currency fluctuations were largely responsible for the drops.

“We’re seeing Australian cities fall in our Cost of Living ranking due in large part to the Australian dollar losing more than nine per cent to the US dollar over the past year. Australia’s low price movement and the rise of other main cities in the ranking are also among the main drivers,” Ms Costa said.

“While the actual cost of living in the Pacific has not fallen, the exchange rate is a key factor when calculating expatriate packages. As a result, our major cities in both Australia and New Zealand are becoming increasingly attractive as locations for international businesses to send expatriates. This is great news for our local workforce which will benefit from a richer, more diversified talent pool.

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