Singapore drops 5 spots to rank 21st in priciest cities for expats: ECA International

Singapore has dropped five places in the global rankings since 2016, while cities such as Tel Aviv and Copenhagen have climbed. PHOTO: REUTERS

SINGAPORE - Singapore has fallen out of the 20 priciest cities in the world for expatriates, ranking 21st out of 262 cities surveyed, the lowest it has been since 2014.

Singapore has dropped five places in the global rankings since 2016, while cities such as Tel Aviv and Copenhagen have climbed.

In the latest rankings published by expatriate manager ECA International, the Republic has kept its ninth spot from last year in the rankings of the most expensive cities in the Asia-Pacific region.

Living costs such as housing rental, utilities (electricity, gas and water), car purchases and school fees are not included in the survey, as such items can make a significant difference to expenses, but are usually compensated for separately in expatriate packages, according to ECA.

Tokyo continues to retain its crown atop the Asia-Pacific pack, and financial centre Hong Kong has taken second place, while climbing two spots in the global rankings to come ninth after Tokyo.

"Although Hong Kong briefly dropped out of the top 10 last year, it has generally risen in the ECA global rankings over the past five years and has now reclaimed its place in the top 10 most expensive cities," said Lee Quane, Asia regional director at ECA International.

Asian cities continue to be the majority in the global rankings, with 26 of the top 50 cities located in Asia.

Fourteen Chinese cities have made it onto the list, including the cities of Shanghai, Beijing and Guangzhou.

This compares with just four European cities and three US locales making it into the top 50.

"European currencies have performed very strongly over the past 12 months, outpacing many other currencies in the world - including the Singapore dollar," Mr Quane said.

"This has resulted in Singapore slipping down the rankings slightly, with some of the more expensive European cities rising above it in the table."

This year, the global rankings have been topped by two African cities. Khartoum made the jump from 21st to second, and the Angolan port city of Luanda is now the most expensive in the world.

A shortage of currency and rising prices remain in the Sudanese capital of Khartoum, demonstrated by its 224-place rise in just five years, and Angolan capital Luanda continues to be beset by the twin troubles of bad infrastructure and overvalued currency.

"The cost of goods typically purchased by international assignees in Luanda, which was already high due to poor infrastructure and significant 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," said Mr Quane.

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