Tokyo Asia’s costliest city for expats

Singapore, June 13:

Tokyo has supplanted Seoul as Asia’s most expensive city for expatriates as the stronger yen pushed up living costs in the world’s second largest economy, a survey by ECA International stated.

Japan’s second biggest city, Yokohama, placed second and Seoul slipped to third spot, the twice-yearly global survey by the human resources firm showed. “Tokyo is the most expensive

city in Asia, overtaking Seoul due, largely, to the appreciation of the yen against the US dollar over the past six months,” ECA International said.

Globally, Tokyo maintained its rank of 13th. Luanda in Angola, and Oslo in Norway were the world’s most expensive cities for expatriates, ECA said. The firm, which provides data to international companies, compares in its survey a basket of 128 consumer items and services purchased by expatriates in more than 370 locations globally.

Both inflation and exchange rate fluctuations had a major impact on the movement of cities within the rankings since ECA’s last survey in September.

Manila, Singapore and many second-tier cities in China were among those that moved up fastest in the rankings because of stronger currencies and relatively high price increases, it said. Data showed pork prices in China rose by 19 per cent in the seven months between surveys while the cost of egg noodles in Singapore went up by almost 15 per cent, ECA said. “Inflation has been seen in most locations worldwide over the past six months, with food and petrol prices, particularly, increasing quite considerably,” it said. The survey, which includes 50 Asian locations, showed Hong Kong was the ninth costliest city in the region followed by Beijing in 10th spot and Taipei in 11th.

Several second-tier cities from Japan, South Korea and Russia filled the ranks between Seoul and Hong Kong. Shanghai was ranked 12th, followed by Singapore in 13th place while Jakarta

placed 22nd and Bangkok occupied 28th spot, said ECA International.

Manila was 31st, ahead of Kuala Lumpur at 35th and Ho Chi Minh City in 42nd spot. Globally, the Norwegian coastal city of Stavanger came third followed by Copenhagen, Moscow, Geneva, Gabon’s capital of Libreville, Zurich, Basel with Bern rounding up the list of the top 10 most costly cities for expatriates.