Asia-Pacific most expensive for expats

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Indy Lifestyle Online

The cities of the Asia-Pacific region dominate this year's list of the most expensive places in the world for expats to live, accounting for no fewer than 18 of the priciest cities on the planet.

The unwanted prize for the most expensive city in the world went to Luanda, the capital of Angola, for the second straight year, according to the annual study by human resources consultancy Mercer. Luanda sits atop the cost tree due to its high number of oil workers and the nation's reliance on imports.

But it is the rising cost of living in the countries of the Asia-Pacific region that catches the eye.

Tokyo is - unsurprisingly - the most expensive city in the region, with Japan's second city, Osaka, ranked sixth on the overall list, the same as 12 months previously. Singapore has risen three places and overtaken Hong Kong to take eighth spot, with Hong Kong static in nine.

Nagoya, one of the key industrial cities in central Japan, has leapt from 19th position to 11, while Sydney has reported a similarly impressive rise, climbing 10 places from one year ago to take 14th spot.

The Mercer rankings are heavily influenced by fluctuations in currencies and take New York as the base city for the index at 100 points. All cities are then compared against New York and currency movements are measured against the dollar.

Seoul sinks to 19th place from 14 one year previously while Beijing is also down, from 16 to 20, although Shanghai and Melbourne share 21st spot, up from 25 and 33 respectively.

Australian cities are conspicuous in the top 50 this time around, primarily as a result of the Australian dollar's 14 percent increase against the US currency. Consequently, Perth has risen 30 places to take 30th spot and Brisbane is up to 31 from 55. Living in Canberra has also become more expensive, with the Australian capital up to equal 34, with Rome, from 74th spot.

Noumea, the New Caledonia capital, is in 38th position, followed by the Chinese city of Guangzhou. The Asia-Pacific entries in the top 50 are rounded out by Shenzen, Adelaide and Baku in Azerbaijan.

The survey covers 214 cities around the planet and uses the comparative cost of 200 items - including housing, transport, food, clothing and entertainment - to rank the entrants.

Karachi was listed in 214th place on the list, three times cheaper to live in for expatriates than Luanda.

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