A survey has ranked Singapore as the ninth most expensive location in Asia to live in.
According to human resources consultant ECA international, Singapore’s currency has been strong relative to other major currencies in the region.
Furthermore, it said prices of goods and services commonly purchased by expatriates have risen at much faster rates here than in other developed locations.
Globally, Singapore has gained six places in ECA’s global rankings and is now in 67th position, overtaking locations such as Guangzhou and Shenzhen.
ECA International said Singapore’s rise up the list continues a long term trend.
In addition, the cost of living differential between Singapore and Hong Kong has become smaller and smaller, said ECA International’s regional director (Asia), Lee Quane.
This, he said, is a double-edged sword: on the one hand companies sending staff out of Singapore need to pay lower cost of living allowances for an employee to maintain their standard of living on assignment.
On the other hand, for companies bringing staff into Singapore, allowances will carry on increasing as Singapore continues to rise on the ranking table.
Tokyo has regained its status as the world’s most expensive city for the first time in five years.
ECA said the Japanese yen, which has gained in value by about 30 per cent against the US dollar in the past three years, has contributed to the Japanese capital’s position at the top of the ranking.
Joining Singapore and Tokyo in Asia’s top ten are the Korean cities of Seoul and Busan as well as Hong Kong, Beijing and Shanghai.
ECA International said currency fluctuations continue to be the main factor impacting the ranking of Asian locations.
The strengthening of Asian currencies over the past year, on the back of strong economic performance, has contributed to the higher costs.
Conversely, locations in mainland China have become cheaper, with Shanghai falling 18 places and Beijing dropping 29 places.
This is due mainly to the pegging of the Chinese yuan to the weakened US dollar.
Shanghai is China’s most expensive city followed by Beijing and Guangzhou.
Norway’s Oslo is the second most expensive city in the world and the most costly European nation.
ECA International said the strengthening of the krone against major currencies, an upward trend in oil prices and a short-lived recession contributed to its rise.
Source : Channel NewsAsia – 14 Jun 2010