Phnom Penh has risen up the rankings of the most expensive cities for foreigners to live in – but from 217th to 213th, according to the latest cost of living research by ECA International.
Meanwhile Tokyo has been knocked off the world’s number one spot by Norway’s capital Oslo, and now lies in sixth place. Oslo is followed by the Angolan capital of Luanda, where the goods and services commonly bought by expatriates are difficult to access, and command a hefty premium. Stavanger in Norway, Juba in South Sudan and Moscow in Russia are also now more expensive than Tokyo.
The ECA International survey is conducted twice a year, comparing a basket of consumer goods and services commonly purchased by employees in more than 400 locations worldwide.
Within Asia, Japanese cities still dominate the top of the cost of living ranking - four of the region’s top five most expensive locations are found there. Seoul joins them, having jumped from seventh to third most expensive Asian location, and from 29th to 14th globally. Not only have the prices of goods and services there increased at a faster rate than the previous year, but the local currency has also strengthened against other major currencies, pushing up costs there for many international assignees.
Beijing (24th globally), Shanghai (26th), Singapore (36th) and Hong Kong (38th) complete the list of the top 10 most expensive locations in Asia. On average, prices of items in ECA’s cost of living basket for Chinese locations have increased little or even seen small decreases this year. As a result, Chinese locations have fallen slightly down the ranking but the on-going strength of the yuan against major currencies has prevented them from dropping too far.
Hong Kong, ranked 38th in the global list and 10th most expensive location in Asia has only seen a slight fall in cost of living. Prices of goods and services in ECA’s cost of living basket have gone up approximately 4 per cent over the year on average there. This is a slightly slower rate of increase than the year before when prices rose 6 per cent on average. With the Hong Kong dollar pegged to a stable US dollar, the cost of living for assignees in the SAR has remained steady.
Indian locations continue to be among the region’s cheapest in terms of cost of living for international assignees. New Delhi, ranked in 200th position globally, is followed by Mumbai at 215.
Karachi, ranked 256th globally, is the least expensive Asian location for expatriates.