Strong currency and barely affordable housing push Hong Kong to the top of the list

Crowded tenements in downtown of Hong Kong
According to the latest annual survey of 2016 Cost of Living Rankings by consultancy firm Mercer, Hong Kong has been named the world’s most expensive city for expats as concerns over a possible UK exit from the EU contribute to London dropping from 12th to 17th.

Currency played a key role. The Hong Kong dollar, for example, has remained strong along with the US dollar, to which it is pegged.

The pay level in Hong Kong is relatively high compared to most of the cities in the world, which offsets the impact of being the most expensive city.

However, high housing costs have been a persistent problem in Hong Kong, in which local working class people have been pushed onto the streets due to unaffordable rents.

The 22th annual survey examined more than 209 cities across five continents and measures the comparative cost of more than 200 items in each location, including housing, transportation, food, clothing, household goods, and entertainment.

This Is the World’s Most Expensive City for Expatriates

22 June 2016

Say hello to the $8 cup of coffee

An annual report by global consultancy firm Mercer has declared Hong Kong as the world’s most expensive city for expatriates to live in. The survey of 209 cities took into account the cost of scores of items in each destination, including housing, food and entertainment.

Mercer found that an unfurnished two-bedroom apartment in a decent neighborhood of Hong Kong rented for over $6,800 a month, compared to roughly $4,600 in London and just $4,000 in Tokyo. A cup of coffee cost nearly $8 in Hong Kong — twice as much as London ($4.40) and Tokyo ($4.00) respectively.

Making up the rest of the world’s top five costliest places to live were the Angolan capital Luanda, Switzerland’s Zurich and Hong Kong’s fellow Asian metropolises Singapore and Tokyo.

They were followed by Kinshasa, capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo, which broke into the top 10 for the first time. Shanghai, Geneva, Chad’s capital N’Djamena and Beijing completed the upper tier.

Hong Kong, a semiautonomous Chinese territory, was also deemed the world’s least affordable city in a survey in January.

Source: TIME

Reference: 2016 Cost of Living Rankings by Mercer

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