In Focus
HR & EDUCATION | Staff Reporter, Hong Kong

Weakening dollar is making Hong Kong cheaper for expats

Tokyo, Seoul and Shanghai have overtaken the city in cost of living rankings.

Hong Kong has plunged from second to 11th place in the global cost of living rankings for overseas workers in a mere span of 12 months, according to a report by ECA International, representing the city’s lowest position in three years.

Also read: Employing expats in Hong Kong cost more than Singapore

“Although the price of goods has continued to rise in Hong Kong in the past 12 months, the Hong Kong dollar has weakened over the same period of time” said Lee Quane, regional director for Asia at ECA International.

This has meant that Hong Kong has fallen behind Tokyo, Seoul and Shanghai in the rankings.

Also read: Hong Kong's liveability for expats plunges amidst intensifying pollution

Tokyo emerged as the most expensive Asian country for expats and seventh in the global rankings due to the sustained strength of the Japanese yen against the dollar, a stark contrast against the Hong Kong dollar which has required the central bank to intervene several times to defend the flailing currency peg. 

“Tokyo’s global ranking has remained relatively static over the past few years. It is only the yen’s relative strength against the US dollar that has seen the Japanese capital has become the most expensive place in Asia for foreigners to live and work at Hong Kong’s expense,” Quane added.

Seoul also outpaced Hong Kong to score the eight spot globally and second spot in Asia. The cost of living for Chinese cities also continued to climb with Shanghai managing to score the tenth spot globally, just a notch above Hong Kong whilst Beijing is just a few spots away from the Asian top ten after ranking thirteenth.

Caracas, Venezuela is the most expensive location for expats in the world due to skyrocketing inflation which caused a significant hike cost of living. Swiss cities dominated the global list with Zurich, Geneva, Basel and Bern completing the top five due to stronger performance of the euro.

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