HR & EDUCATION | Staff Reporter, Singapore

Singapore jumps to 4th spot in costliest cities for expats

For instance, coffee in Singapore is at US$5, which is significantly cheaper than coffee in Seoul (US$10) and Hong Kong (US$7).

Singapore has moved up one place from last year, as the fourth most expensive city for expatriate assignments in the world, followed closely with other Asian cities such as Seoul (5th), Shanghai (7th), and Beijing (9th), Mercer revealed. Hong Kong emerged as the costliest city in the world.

“Across the board, currency fluctuations and inflation for goods and services drive up the cost of living in Asian cities. Whilst Singapore has climbed up one notch in the cost of living rankings from the last year, this is balanced off with high salaries and a stable economy,” said Mario Ferraro, Mercer global mobility practice leader for Asia, Middle East, Africa, and Turkey.

Luanda, the most expensive city last year, dropped to sixth place in the rankings due to the weakening of its local currency. Other cities in the top 10 include Zurich (3rd), N’Djamena (8th), and Bern (10th). The world’s least expensive cities for expatriates are Tashkent (209), Tunis (208) and Bishkek (207).

Mercer studied an international basket of goods and exchange rates to compare the cost of living in a survey conducted in March.

According to the study, it costs around US$10 to buy a cinema ticket in Singapore to watch an international film release. The price is significantly lower than the highest price in London (US$20-25) but higher than the price in Luanda (US$8).

Coffee in Singapore is at US$5, which is significantly cheaper than coffee in Seoul (US$10) and Hong Kong (US$7). If you want a burger to go with it, in Singapore, you’ll need to pay US$5, which is still cheaper compared to ones in Zurich (US$12-13) but more expensive than the ones in Johannesburg (US$3).

A pair of blue jeans in Singapore costs around US$100, which is slightly similar to the prices in the top three most expensive markets. Pants in Moscow are the costliest at US$150.

A litre of gasoline in Singapore is one of the most expensive in the world at US$1.5-1.6, closely behind Hong Kong (US$2) and London (US$1.4-1.5).

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