Hong Kong and Singapore are the most expensive places in the Asia Pacific region, but both are overtaken by two African cities which have been crowned the priciest cities for expatriates in the world.
According to Mercer's Cost of Living Survey 2014, Luanda in Angola and N'Djamena in Chad take first and second place respectively, thanks to disproportionately high accommodation and import goods costs.
Hong Kong is in third place, jumping three spots from last year, while Singapore is in fourth - one place higher than in 2013. Zurich jumped three places to come in at fifth place, followed by Geneva in sixth. Tokyo dropped four spots to rank seventh.
Chinese cities also rank highly, with Shanghai jumping four spots since last year to 10th place, followed by Beijing (11), Seoul (14), and Shenzhen (17).
“Japanese cities have dropped in the ranking this year as a result of the yen’s weakening against the US dollar,” said Nathalie Constantin-Métral, principal at Mercer. “However, Chinese cities jumped in the ranking, including Shanghai, Beijing, and Shenzhen, due to the strengthening of the Chinese yuan.”
Mercer's survey ranks cities using New York as a base city, of which all other 211 cities across five continents are compared against. The survey measures the comparitive cost of over 200 items in each location including housing, transportation, food, clothing, household goods and entertainment. Currency movements are measured against the US dollar.
Australian cities have witnessed some of the most dramatic falls in the ranking this year, as the local currency has depreciated against the US dollar. Sydney (26), Australia’s most expensive ranked city for expatriates, and Melbourne (33) dropped 17 places while Perth (37) fell 19 spots.
Mumbai (140) is India’s most expensive city, followed by New Delhi (157) and Chennai (185). Bangalore (196) and Kolkata (205) are the least expensive Indian cities ranked.
Elsewhere in Asia, Bangkok (88) dropped 22 places from last year while Kuala Lumpur ranks 115, followed by Indonesia’s Jakarta which ranked 119, falling 48 places from 2013.