S’pore is 12th most expensive city in Asia

Singapore is the 12th most expensive city in Asia, according to a global survey on cost of living by international human resource company ECA International.

The country jumped 27 places, and is one of Asia’s biggest movers.

Hong Kong was ranked 6th, while Tokyo took the top spot.

For the first time, Beijing overtook Hong Kong as the most expensive Chinese city.

The survey noted that the cost of living for Asian cities such as Beijing, Hong Kong, Singapore and Taipei has gone up in the past year due to fluctuating currency and inflation rates.

Cities all over the world are reeling from exchange rate fluctuations brought on by the economic crisis.

This in turn has a big impact on the average costs of living for expatriates.

Living costs in Hong Kong are now approximately 15 per cent higher than in Singapore, an increase from 12 per cent last year.

According to ECA International, the last two months have seen goods and services in Hong Kong swing from being 10 per cent cheaper than in London to being almost 10 per cent more expensive.

Beijing is now three times more expensive than Singapore compared to last year, while cost of living for foreigners visiting Korea and Singapore is now almost on par.

One of the wildest swings is in Japan.

Goods and services in Japan are now 68 per cent more expensive than in Singapore.

This is up from 43 per cent in September last year.

The unravelling of the carry trade resulting in the strengthening of the Japanese yen is mostly to blame for this.

In contrast, Islamabad is the cheapest location in Asia.

Goods and services there are 70 per cent cheaper than in Japan.

In Europe, Moscow is the most expensive location, replacing Oslo.

The weakening of the pound has seen central London off the list of the world’s top ten most expensive cities.

ECA’s survey is carried out twice a year and compares a basket of 125 consumer goods and services commonly purchased by expatriates in over 370 locations worldwide.

Source : Channel NewsAsia – 4 Dec 2008

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