Singapore is 10th most expensive Asian city for expats: Survey

Singapore is the 10th most expensive city in Asia for expatriates, according to a survey released on Wednesday (June 8). PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Singapore is now the 10th most expensive city in Asia for expatriates, down from its 8th position at the end of last year, according to a survey released on Wednesday (June 8).

But globally, Singapore is now the 18th most expensive location for expats, up 13 places in the last five years.

ECA International, which conducts its cost of living survey twice a year, said Tokyo remains the most expensive city in Asia for expats, followed by Hong Kong and Shanghai.


From a global perspective, however, Tokyo has moved down from 1st place over the last five years to 7th place, while Hong Kong is up 26 places from 2012's 35th position.

Hong Kong now ranks higher than all Chinese Tier 1 cities for the first time in five years. The Hong Kong dollar has appreciated against most major currencies owing to its peg to the US dollar, which has pushed up prices of goods and services compared to those in locations whose currencies have weakened against the greenback, said ECA

Cities in China have jumped in the global rankings over five years. Shanghai, which was ranked as the 25th most expensive location for expats in the world five years ago, has moved up 15 places to the 10th most expensive. It is just ahead of Beijing (11th), Guangzhou (15th) and Shenzhen (24th).

ECA's survey compares a basket of like-for-like consumer goods and services commonly purchased by expats in over 450 locations worldwide.

It excludes certain costs like accommodation rental, utilities, car purchases and school fees, because these are usually covered by separate allowances, ECA said.

The rankings reflect differences in inflation levels as well as exchange rate movements between the employee's home and host countries.

"Singapore is a case in point," said Lee Quane, regional director, Asia, ECA International. "In spite of relatively low levels of inflation in the past 12 months, a strengthening currency versus the Australian dollar and slightly higher rates of inflation for international assignees over the period as a whole has pushed Singapore above locations in Australia over the course of the past five surveys.

"This is also the case when compared with locations in Europe, who have experienced lower inflation rates and a depreciating currency over this time period."

Jakarta fell 49 places in the last five years to 156th place in the world ranking mainly due to the weakness of the rupiah, said ECA. Kuala Lumpur, the most expensive location in Malaysia, fell by 19 places over five years to 197th place in 2016.

Australian locations continue to fall significantly down the global rankings - a reflection of the weakened Aussie dollar. Sydney, the most expensive location in Australia, fell from 15th place in 2012 to 70th in this year's survey. Adelaide had the biggest fall for the country, now lying at 109th place, down 92 places from 17th.

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