Tue, Jun 27, 2006 - Page 2 News List

Survey says Taipei is one of world's priciest cities


Taipei ranked 28th among 144 cities around the world for its expensive living, according to a survey released yesterday measuring the comparative cost of more than 200 items such as housing, transportation and food.

Moscow has eclipsed Tokyo as the world's most expensive city, the survey says.

The Russian capital moved up three spots from a year ago thanks to a recent property boom, while the Japanese capital slipped to third place due to the weaker yen.

Seoul ranked second on the list, up from fifth last year.

The survey by Mercer Human Resource Consulting is aimed at helping multinational employers determine compensation for expatriate workers.

With cities around the world growing increasingly expensive for expatriates -- notably cities in developing countries -- employers may need to re-examine the way they provide compensation and benefits for their workers, said Rebecca Powers, a senior consultant at Mercer.

"As we see more and more movement into these emerging markets, a lot of those programs need to be looked at," Powers said.

Overall, foreign exchange rate fluctuations were behind the majority of the changes in ranking. However, in Moscow's case, costs were buoyed by the surging price for large living accommodations.

After Moscow, Europe's priciest cities were London, ranked No. 5 overall, and Geneva, ranked No. 7.

European cities tended to fall in the rankings this year because of a weakening euro.

New York -- ranked No. 10, up three spots from last year -- remains North America's costliest city, followed by Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Chinese cities -- including Hong Kong at No. 4, Beijing at No. 14 and Shanghai at No. 20 -- climbed the list due mostly to the yuan's strength after being de-pegged from the US dollar.

With the Brazilian real rising about 20 percent against the US dollar over the past year Sao Paolo and Rio de Janeiro surged to No. 34 and No. 40 from No. 119 and No. 124 respectively.

"What's so interesting now is that we do see, year to year, more fluctuation in these rankings than we used to," Powers said.

"The investment and flow of capital and businesses into developing countries has made them a bit more expensive," she said.

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