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ECONOMY, UTILITIES | Staff Reporter, Hong Kong
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Hong Kong ranked as sixth priciest market for expats globally

Prices dropped amidst a double whammy of the political unrest and the pandemic.

Hong Kong is recognised as the sixth most expensive location for expats to live in, which fell from being fourth place in 2019, according to a survey by ECA International. The drop in ranks is attributed to the political unrest and the impact of COVID-19. Hong Kong lagged behind Turkmenistan’s Ashgabat, and Swiss cities of Zurich, Geneva, Basel and Bern.

“Despite political and social unrest over the course of 2019, coupled with the impact of COVID-19 making some people more reluctant to move to the SAR, Hong Kong has only seen a small drop in the global rankings amid the uncertainty” said Lee Quane, regional director for Asia at ECA International. “Although it has been overtaken by Bern and Basel, Hong Kong is still one of the most expensive places for overseas workers to live and is still more expensive than other Asian expat hubs such as Tokyo and Singapore”.

In Asia, Hong Kong is also jailed as the second priciest expat market, outpacing Tokyo. Chinese cities all dropped in the most recent cost of living rankings this year, including Beijing and Shanghai which both fell nine places to at 24th and 19th, respectively.

The cost of living in Korea Republic has also been hit by Covid-19, with Seoul falling from eighth place to 17th in the global rankings, and Busan dropped out of the top 20 entirely. The survey also showed that Singapore remained steady in the rankings, down just two places to 14th place.

Meanwhile, Thai and Vietnamese cities continued to move up the rankings, with Bangkok rising 64 places in five years and Hanoi up 25 places over the same period.

This cost of living survey is prepared by comparing a basket of like-for-like consumer goods and services commonly purchased by international assignees in over 480 locations worldwide but doesn’t include accommodation rental, utilities, car purchases and school fees.

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