ECONOMY | Staff Reporter, Hong Kong

Hong Kong elbowed out of world's 10 costliest cities for expats list

It dropped 2 places from last year's 9th spot.

Hong Kong is now the 11th most expensive location in the world for expatriates, falling from 9th place last year. This was one of the findings of the latest Cost of Living survey published by ECA International, the world's leading provider of knowledge, information and software for the management and assignment of employees around the world.

To ensure that an employee’s spending power is maintained when they are sent on international assignment, a cost of living allowance is often provided as part of the pay package. This allowance will be affected by differences in inflation levels as well as exchange rate movements between the employee’s home and host countries.

“Over the past five years, Hong Kong has generally risen in the ECA global rankings from 60th in 2011, up 49 places to 11th in 2016”, said Lee Quane, Regional Director – Asia, ECA International. “From a regional perspective, it is the 5th most expensive in Asia Pacific with only Japanese locations ranking higher, down from 3rd place this time last year. The relative strength of the Japanese yen in the survey period pushed all Japanese cities above Hong Kong in the rankings”.

ECA International has been conducting research into cost of living for more than 40 years. It carries out two main surveys per year to help companies calculate cost of living allowances so that their employees' spending power is not compromised while on international assignment. The surveys compare a basket of like-for-like consumer goods and services commonly purchased by assignees in over 450 locations worldwide. Certain living costs, such as accommodation rental, utilities, car purchases and school fees are usually covered by separate allowances. Data for these costs are collected separately and are not included in ECA’s cost of living basket.

Singapore has remained relatively stationary in the Asia Pacific regional rankings, moving down to 9th position from 8th last year; globally, it has climbed two places to 16th.

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