The annual Mercer barometer once again places Hong Kong first among the most expensive cities in the world. Bern and Geneva are among the top 10.
Hong Kong remains the most expensive city in the world for expatriates for the third year in a row, according to the latest Tuesday edition of the annual Mercer barometer. The consultancy has classified 209 cities around the world.
Six of the ten most expensive cities are located in Asia, three in Switzerland – Zurich (4th), Bern (8th) and Geneva (9th) – and one in the United States (New York 6th).
In second position, the capital of Turkmenistan, Ashgabat, is a city hit by “an economic crisis which causes a shortage of foreign exchange, therefore, problems to import”, but where do not live many expatriates, explained the cabinet Mercer . Tokyo fell from 2nd to 3rd place and Singapore from 3rd to 5th.
Exchange rate movements like inflation affect these developments. “The strength of the dollar has increased costs for expatriates in American cities,” said the statement from Mercer. In addition to New York, which is up three places from 2019, San Francisco remains in 16th place and Los Angeles is up one place from 18th to 17th.
In France, Paris fell from 47th to 50th place due to the fall of the euro against the dollar, while Lyon remained in 123rd place. London gains four places and becomes the 19th most expensive city, because the pound “gains in value compared to all the major world currencies”.
The cheapest cities are Karachi, Pakistan (205th), Bishkek and Tashkent (206th), Windhoek (208th) and Tunis (209th).
“We did our price survey in February and March” when “most countries in the world were not yet affected by the crisis” related to the new coronavirus, said Mercer. On another price survey carried out in April but on a sample of goods and services and a much more limited number of cities, we noted “no impact” on the ranking, the firm said.
The Covid-19 could have consequences in the future on the expatriation of employees by companies. “There will be changes, but we do not yet know to what extent the crisis will have an impact on mobility,” according to Mercer.