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Survey: HK loses top spot as world's most expensive city for expats

Survey: HK loses top spot as world's most expensive city for expats

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Hong Kong has lost the top spot to New York when it comes to the world’s most expensive city for expatriates following a four-year reign, while Singapore sits in the fifth place, up from 13th place last year, according to a survey by ECA International’s cost-of-living. 

ECA International’s cost of living research is carried out in March and September using a basket of day-to-day goods and services commonly purchased by assignees. The data used refers to the March 2023 data collection period with changes compared to the March 2022 period. 

According to the survey, New York has overtaken Hong Kong as the most expensive location in the world for expatriates, having experienced higher rates of inflation and rental price increases compared to other US cities. 

Hong Kong’s fall in the ranking was matched by nearly all major locations in the region. Singapore, Seoul and Yangon were among the exceptions, with Singapore having leapt up into the top five most expensive cities in the world.

Contrary to last year, Chinese cities have dropped further down in the ranking due to the weaker Chinese yuan against other currencies and a lower rate of inflation compared to other countries, the survey found. Shanghai and Guangzhou, remain the most expensive cities in China, but have fallen out of the global top 10, ranking as the 13th and 14th most expensive cities in the world for expatriates.

In Japan, all cities have dropped in the latest ranking as the Japanese yen weakened. Tokyo, which was consistently amongst the top five globally in recent years, has dropped five places to the 10th globally.

“Costs for goods and services in Hong Kong rose at multi-year highs, showing that the city was not spared from the wave of inflation we have seen throughout the world in the past year,” said Lee Quane, Asia regional director at ECA International.

“In spite of this, Hong Kong fell in our rankings as the increase in prices of day-to-day goods and services was tempered by falls in accommodation costs in the city," she added.

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