Singapore is 4th-most expensive city for expats: Poll

Singapore is now the fourth-most expensive city for expatriates, having moved up one spot from last year's ranking in the Cost of Living Survey published by global human resources consulting firm Mercer.

Hong Kong was the costliest city for working overseas, followed by Tokyo and Zurich.

Mr Mario Ferraro, Mercer's global mobility practice leader for Asia, Middle East, Africa and Turkey, said: "Across the board, currency fluctuations and inflation for goods and services drove up the cost of living in Asian cities.

"While Singapore has climbed up one notch in the cost of living rankings from the last year, this has been balanced off with high salaries and a stable economy."

Asian cities took six of the top 10 spots in Mercer's annual ranking. Also in the top 10 were Luanda (sixth), N'Djamena (eighth) and Bern (10th). The world's least expensive cities for expatriates were Bishkek (207th), Tunis (208th) and Tashkent (209th).

Hong Kong, with its soaring rents, recaptured the top spot in the survey from last year's leader Luanda, capital of Angola, which fell to sixth position due to the weakening of its local currency against the US dollar.

Mr Slagin Parakatil, principal at Mercer responsible for compiling the survey, said: "The strengthening of the Chinese yuan pushed Chinese cities up in the ranking. However, most cities in Japan fell in the ranking due to the weakening of the Japanese yen against the US dollar."

Elsewhere in Asia, Mumbai (55th) ranked as India's most expensive city, while Kuala Lumpur rose 20 places to 145th. Conversely, Australian cities fell as the Aussie dollar depreciated against the greenback. Brisbane (84th) and Perth (61st) dropped 13 and 11 spots respectively. Melbourne fell 12 spots to 58th, while Sydney (29th) fell five places.

United States cities also fell due to the depreciation of the US dollar against other major currencies worldwide.

Overall, Western European cities rose in the rankings, due mainly to the strengthening of local currencies against the US dollar and the cost of goods and services, Mercer said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 27, 2018, with the headline 'Singapore is 4th-most expensive city for expats: Poll'. Print Edition | Subscribe