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Tue, Jun 19, 2007 - Page 11 News List

Moscow still the most expensive for expats


Moscow remains the most expensive city in the world for expatriate staff, a survey released yesterday by British human resources firm Mercer HR said.

But the study saw London leap three places from fifth to second in the last 12 months, with Seoul in third, followed by Tokyo and Hong Kong. The cheapest city was Paraguay's Asuncion for the fifth year running.

The findings use the US' most expensive city, New York, as a benchmark and compare the cost in 143 cities of more than 200 items, such as housing, transport, food, clothing, household goods and entertainment.

Moscow was 34.4 percent more expensive, up just under 11 percent on last year. Mercer said the rise was due to the appreciation of the ruble against the US dollar which with soaring rents had driven up the cost for expats.

London saw an even bigger leap -- just under 16 percent -- making it now 26.3 percent more expensive than the US city with which it is often compared because of rent hikes, a strong pound and weak US dollar.

Seoul was 22.4 percent more expensive, Tokyo 22.1 percent and Hong Kong 19.4 percent.

European cities featured prominently in the top 10: Copenhagen was the sixth most expensive at plus 10.2 percent, Geneva seventh at plus 9.8 percent, Zurich ninth at plus 7.6 percent and Oslo 10th at plus 5.8 percent.

The Japanese city of Osaka was eighth at plus 8.4 percent.

Others more expensive than New York were Milan (11th at plus 4.4 percent); Saint Petersburg (12th at plus 3 percent); Paris (13th at plus 1.4 percent) and Singapore (14th at plus 0.4 percent).

This year's list showed significant changes in rankings, particularly in Europe due to a stronger euro and weak US dollar, Mercer said.

In turn, US cities and those in countries where the currency is pegged to the dollar, fell down the list.

The least expensive city in Europe for expats is Sofia in Bulgaria.

Sao Paolo and Rio de Janeiro are the most expensive cities in South America.

Chinese cities moved down the ranking. Beijing was 20th (4.1 percent less expensive than New York), Shanghai 26th (minus 7.9 percent).

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