Hong Kong ranked as the most expensive city for expatriates, followed by Luanda, Angola in the second spot, and Zurich in the third spot, according to a survey by Mercer.
Mercer’s 2016 Cost of Living Survey ranked Singapore in the fourth position, followed by Tokyo (5), Kinshasa (6), Shanghai (7), Geneva (8), N’Djamena (9), and Beijing (10).
According to the study’s findings, Windhoek, Cape Town, and Bishkek ranked as the world’s least expensive cities for expats.
In Europe, several cities remained relatively steady due to the stability of the euro against the US dollar, such as Paris (44), Milan (50), Vienna (54), and Rome (58) that remained relatively unchanged compared to a year ago, and Copenhagen (24) and St. Petersburg (152) that remained in the same place.
Rankings of Oslo (59) and Moscow (67) nosedived 21 and 17 places, respectively, due to local currencies losing significant value against the US dollar. London (17) and Birmingham, UK (96) slumped 5 and 16 places, respectively.
However, the rankings of German cities incuding Munich (77), Frankfurt (88), and Dusseldorf (107) recorded a rise.
Mercer principal responsible for compiling the survey ranking Nathalie Constantin-Metral said: "Despite some marked price increases across the region, several local currencies in Europe have weakened against the US dollar which pushed a few cities down in the ranking. Additionally, other factors like recent security issues, social unrest, and concern about the economic outlook have impacted the region."
In the Asia-Pacific and globally, Hong Kong emerged as the most expensive city for expats following Luanda’s drop in the ranking due to the weakening of its local currency. Singapore remained steady and Tokyo rose six places.
Shenzhen (12) increased two places and Seoul (15) and Guangzhou, China (18) plummeted seven and three spots.
"The strengthening of the Japanese yen pushed Japanese cities up in the ranking. However, Chinese cities fell in the ranking due to the weakening of the Chinese yuan against the US dollar," Constantin-Metral said.
In India, Mumbai (82) became the most expensive city, while Kolkata (194) and Bangalore (180) the least expensive Indian cities.
Notably, Bangkok (74), Kuala Lumpur (151) and Hanoi (106) dropped 29, 38, and 20 places, respectively in this year’s ranking.
Australian cities recorded some of the most dramatic falls in ranking driven by the depreciation of the local currency against the US dollar. Sydney (42) bagged the top spot in the most expensive city for expats in Australia, recording a drop of 11 places.
Brisbane (96) and Canberra (98) slid 30 and 33 spots, respectively, while Melbourne (71) dropped 24 places.
In the US, cities climbed the ranking ladder due to the strength of the US dollar against other major currencies.
New York climbed five places to become the highest ranking city in the region (11). San Francisco (26) and Los Angeles (27) increased 11 and nine spots, respectively. Seattle (83) climbed 23 spots, Honolulu (37) was up 15 places, Washington, DC (38) climbed 12 places, and Boston (47) climbed 17 spots.
"Despite mild price increases overall, most cities in the US have climbed in the ranking, primarily due to a strong US dollar," Constantin-Metral said.
Buenos Aires (41) ranked as the costliest city in South America, despite a drop of 22 places from last year. The second spot in the region was bagged by San Juan, Puerto Rico (67), climbing 22 spots.
Canadian cities continued to drop primarily due to the weak Canadian dollar. Vancouver (142) was the country’s high ranking city, which dropped 23 places. Toronto (143), Montreal (155) and Calgary (162) fell 17, 15 and 16 spots, respectively.