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Why do expats find Asia-Pacific cities cheaper

July 24, 2013 16:18 IST

Why do expats find Asia-Pacific cities cheaper

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While economists are groping for a solution to beat the currency weakness in Asia-Pacific, survey by global HR services firm Mercer said that many cities in the region, including those in India, are luring the expatriates mainly because the currencies in these countries are cheap compared to US dollar.

The expats are finding these cities a lot cheaper to live in.

In India, Mumbai has emerged as the most expensive city for expatriates and was ranked 118 in the Index.

Last year, Mumbai was ranked 114th on the list.

Moreover, a comparative cost of food and entertainment items turned out to be quite dramatic for the global cities.

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Image: Labourers work on a billboard in Mumbai.
Photographs: Arko Datta/Reuters

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Why do expats find Asia-Pacific cities cheaper

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A fast food hamburger meal is $3.62 in Kolkata, India, versus $13.49 in Caracas, Venezuela, and a cinema ticket is $5.91 in Johannesburg compared to $20.10 in London, the report said.

According to Mercer, currency changes and housing costs have influenced Asia-Pacific rankings, as a large number of cities have gone down in the list because of weaker local currencies (versuss the dollar), including the most expensive city in 2012 rankings -- Tokyo, which slipped to the third position this year.

"Recent world events, including economic and political upheavals, which resulted in currency fluctuations, cost inflation for goods and services, and volatility in accommodation prices have impacted these cities making them expensive," Mercer Global Mobility Practice Leader Senior Partner Barb Marder said.       

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Image: Victoria Memorial.
Photographs: Reuters

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The rupee has depreciated by more than 10 per cent in the last one month and crossed the psychological level of 60 per dollar in June-end and touched over 61-level in early July.    

According to Mercer, Luanda has emerged as the most costly city for expatriates, pushing Moscow to the second spot.

At the third place is Tokyo, followed by N'Djamena in Chad (fourth) and Singapore (fifth), respectively.

Other cities in the top 10 include Hong Kong (sixth), Geneva (seventh), Zurich (eighth), Bern and Sydney (both ranked ninth).           

Mercer's Cost of Living Survey, helps multinational companies and governments determine compensation allowances for their expatriate employees.    

New York is used as the base city, and all cities are compared against it.

Currency movements are measured against the US dollar.


Image: Tokyo Tower.
Photographs: Rediff Archives

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