Tokyo

Tokyo named world’s most expensive city for expat staff

Lifestyle

Tokyo has been named the world’s most expensive city for foreign staff to live in, according to an annual cost-of-living survey.

Tokyo surpassed the Angolan capital Luanda, which received the title in last year’s survey.

The survey, conducted by HR consultants Mercer, ranked 214 cities according to the needs of expatriates.

According to the survey, in Tokyo, a cup of coffee will cost you £5.25, a newspaper £4 and a litre of milk £2.

Paris, Rome and Amsterdam fell in the survey’s rankings as a weaker euro reduced costs for overseas firms. London ranked 25 this year, down seven places.

The survey found accommodation remains the biggest cost for expat staff, accounting for 25 per cent of spending, followed by transport and utility bills.

Declining incomes and rising unemployment due to recession in most eurozone countries have decreased prices.

In Paris, rent for an unfurnished, two-bedroom luxury property fell three per cent to $3,041, according to the survey. Rental costs in Rome, Berlin and Madrid were also down.

But the exchange rate has arguably had the greatest impact on prices. The euro has fallen 16 per cent since its peak in May, resulting in a 16 per cent discount for staff and companies operating in the eurozone.

Meanwhile, the economic boom in many Asia-Pacific countries has increased costs for expats based in the region.

In Shanghai, spending on accommodation has risen 73 per cent. Rents in the world’s most expensive property market, Hong Kong, rose 23 per cent to $7,039 for a two-bedroom apartment, while rents in Beijing were up 15 per cent.

Mercer’s findings were based on prices gathered between March 2011 and March 2012.

Lana Galea View Comments

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