Moscova loses crown

Moscova loses crownThe capital of Russia lost the top spot as the world’s most expensive city for expatriates, being edged out by Tokyo for 2009, due to currency fluctuations and inflation rates.

The survey covers 143 cities across six continents and measures the comparative cost of over 200 items in each location, including housing, transport, food, clothing, household goods and entertainment. The survey ranked Tokyo and Osaka first and second most expensive cities for expatriates.

Moscow glides into third position.

Currency fluctuations and cost of living

Currency fluctuations and cost of living“As a direct impact of the economic downturn over the last year we have observed significant fluctuations in most of the world’s currencies, which have had a profound impact on this year’s ranking”, said Nathalie Constantin-Métral, senior researcher at Mercer.

“Many currencies, including the Euro and British pound, have weakened considerably against a strong US dollar causing a number of European cities to plummet in the rankings,” she continued.

Top 10 most expensive cities for expatriates

Rank City (Rank 2008)
1. Tokyo (2)
2. Osaka (11)
3. Moscow (1)
4. Geneva (8)
5. Hong Kong (6)
6. Zurich (9)
7. Copenhagen (7)
8. New York City (22)
9. Beijing (20)
10 Singapore (13)

London, 16th position

London, 16th positionIn Mercer’s survey, New York is used as the base city for the index and scores 100 points, all cities are compared against New York and currency movements are measured against the US dollar.

Tokyo scores 143.7 points while London drops 13 places to rank 16.

Warsaw, the most dramatic fall

Warsaw, the most dramatic fallOslo, previously on fourth, has dropped to 14th.

New York is a new entry in the top 10, jumping from 22nd to 8th place, and so is Beijing, now in 9th place, up from 20th in 2008.

Warsaw experienced the most dramatic change, plummeting 78 places from 35th to 113th.

Johannesburg, the least expensive city

Johannesburg, the least expensive cityTel Aviv remains the most expensive city for expats in the Middle East, while Caracas takes the top spot in South America. Sydney is ranked as the most expensive city for expats in Australia and New Zealand.

Johannesburg is now the cheapest city in the world, replacing Asuncion in Paraguay.