COST OF LIVING SURVEY EXPATRIATE MERCER
Global - With currency fluctuations in the current recession, the cost of living for expatriates has gone up in many countries. Singapore now remains the most expensive country in ASEAN, and the tenth most expensive city in the world.
According to the latest Cost of Living Survey by Mercer, Singapore was previously at 13th place, it climbed to the tenth place despite a drop of 11 points from its cost of living index.
"Despite a relative fall in cost of living, Singapore's rise in the ranking table is a consequence of an even greater fall by other cities in terms of cost of living index. In fact, the sharp decrease in Singapore's accommodation rental costs combined with the weaker Singapore dollar (against the US dollar) this year resulted in the drop of its cost of living ranking," says Puneet Swani, ASEAN business leader with Mercer's information product solutions.
Cities in the US, China, Japan and the Middle East have surged in rankings as well. Tokyo is now the most expensive city for expatriates, while Osaka is up nine places to second place. Meanwhile, Geneva climbs to the fourth position, with Hong Kong right behind. New York is now in the top ten list, jumping from 22nd to eighth place. Beijing is now the ninth most expensive city for expatriates, while Dubai has climbed to the 20th place.
However, the majority of European cities have moved down the ranking, with Warsaw plummeting from 35th to 113th place. Previously in the top ten, London now dropped 13 places. Australia, New Zealand and India experienced a similar trend, with Sydney dropping 51 places from 15th to 66th place.
Nathalie Constantin-Métral, a senior researcher at Mercer, believes multinational companies continue to be greatly affected by the economic downturn. "The cost of expatriate programmes is heavily influenced by currency fluctuations and inflation rates. Now that cost containment and reduction is at the top of most company agendas, keeping track of the change in factors that dictate expatriate cost of living and housing allowances is essential."
Hence, she feels it is important for multinational companies to "continuously benchmark against their peers to ensure compensation packages are fair and in line with the rest of the market".
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