Singapore is 26th costliest place globally for expats: Report

It is now more expensive for expats to live in Singapore than last year, a new cost of living survey showed on Dec 11, 2014, as the Republic moved up five spots to become the world's 26th costliest place for them.  -- PHOTO: ST FILE
It is now more expensive for expats to live in Singapore than last year, a new cost of living survey showed on Dec 11, 2014, as the Republic moved up five spots to become the world's 26th costliest place for them.  -- PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - It is now more expensive for expats to live in Singapore than last year, a new cost of living survey showed on Thursday.

The Republic moved up five places from last year to become the world's 26th costliest place for expats - placing it ahead of Hong Kong, Paris and Stockholm, human resources firm ECA International said in a report.

Prices in a basket of goods tracked by the firm edged up 4 per cent in the past year, over the 2.7 per cent increase recorded from 2012 to 2013.

The survey, which compares a basket of like-for-like consumer goods and services commonly bought by expats in over 440 cities, was compiled to help companies calculate its employees' allowances, so that their spending power will not be compromised when on overseas assignments, said ECA.

This includes items that reflect an "international lifestyle", such as dairy produce, household goods, clothes and transport.

However, certain living expenses such as accomodation rentals and utility charges were not included in the survey, as these are typically compensated for in separate pay packages.

Currency fluctuations will have an impact on the expat's spending power as well, said Mr Lee Quane, regional director of ECA International in Asia.

"(It) depends on whether they are paid in a currency that has weakened or strengthened against the Singapore dollar," he said.

"The dollar strengthened against the euro this year, so this coupled with prices rising in Singapore more rapidly over the same period means that many Europeans coming to the country would have seen their purchasing power fall."

In the Asia Pacific, Singapore was the ninth most expensive place for expats, overtaking Hong Kong in 10th place and Sydney in the 11th spot.

Seoul surpassed Tokyo this year to claim the top spot, on the back of an appreciation in the Korean won, which strengthened 15 per cent against the Japanese yen in the past year, said ECA.