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HR consultants Mercer have released their annual list of the most expensive cities in the world for expats with Tokyo topping the list.
While many expats might have guessed that Tokyo might vying with the likes of typical expat locations such as Zurich and Dubai, few may have picked Angola’s capital Luanda for second place.
The survey takes into account low value expat spending like a pint of milk or a meal in a restaurant but weights more heavily big ticket items like rent on a 2 bedroom luxury apartment. In this way the survey better reflects the costs of maintaining the typical expat lifestyle in key expat locations around the world.
In a sign of the shifting economic momentum from West to East, Shanghai now ranks above New York, London and Paris for the first time.
The high standard of living costs in the Asia-Pacific region has an impact beyond the expat pocket. Qantas recently issued a profit warning on the back of Europeans cutting down on discretionary spending such as holidays in expensive Australian cities. Australian localities climbed faster up the rankings for expat cost of living than any other country.
Swiss expat destinations Zurich and Geneva still feature in the top ten and Athens, perhaps unexpectedly, was measured as being more expensive for expats than Berlin.