Report ranks world`s most expensive cities

11:14, 24 July 2008
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Moscow is the world`s priciest city for expatriate workers

Moscow is the world`s priciest city for expatriate workers and is almost 1.5 times as expensive as New York, Shanghai, Amsterdam and Madrid, a report on relative living costs shows, according to Reuters.

Tokyo rose above London into second place in the world rankings while Oslo, boosted by Norway`s petrodollars, climbed six places to fourth.

Asuncion was ranked the world`s least expensive major city for a sixth year running, according to the annual survey by human resource consultants Mercer, which measured the cost of more than 200 items in 143 cities.

Moscow had a cost of living index of 142.4 points compared with highest-placed US city New York, which fell seven places to 22nd with a score of 100.

Although consumers globally were feeling the pinch from rising price inflation, large currency shifts and economic differences meant some countries felt it more than others,

"Our research confirms the global trend in price increases for certain foodstuffs and petrol, though the rise is not consistent in all locations," said Yvonne Traber, a principal and research manager at Mercer.

Mercer said currency trends accounted for many of this year`s shifts in city rankings, with the rouble, euro, and several other currencies all gaining against the US dollar and making US cities in general seem comparatively cheaper.

"On the bright side, the US dollar`s loss of value may serve to attract globally mobile executives to business centres such as New York, Chicago and Los Angeles," said Mitch Barnes, another principal at Mercer.

"The difference in cost of living can be significant, particularly for those executives with families."

Countries with high economic growth rates also saw big rises in relative living costs, with Sao Paulo in Brazil and Istanbul in Turkey among the biggest climbers in the global rankings.

Mercer said the survey, which tracked housing rents as well as the cost of clothing, transport and entertainment, was used to help multinational companies and governments determine compensation allowances for their expatriate employees.

"Keeping on top of the changes in expatriate cost of living is essential so companies can ensure their employees are compensated fairly and at competitive rates when stationed abroad," Ms Traber said.

Reuters, ABC News

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