Hong Kong is the world’s most expensive city for expatriates, dethroning Angolan capital Luanda from the top spot, according to a new report published by global consultancy firm Mercer.
Luanda has consistently topped Mercer’s annual Cost of Living Survey, but the Angolan capital dropped to the No. 2 spot due to the weakening of its local currency. The Kwanza has reportedly lost nearly 18 percent of its vale against the U.S. dollar this year.
Mercer uses New York City as the base city for all comparisons, and currency movements are measured against the greenback. This year’s Cost of Living Survey includes 209 cities across five continents and measures the comparative cost of more than 200 items in each location, including housing, transportation, food, clothing, household goods and entertainment.
Rent for a 2-bedroom unfurnished apartment in Luanda will cost you $6,700 per month — about $100 less than Hong Kong. That’s still way ahead of New York City at $5,100, London at $4,583 and Singapore at $3,129, according to the report.
Asian and African cities dominated the top of Mercer’s list this year, with Beijing at No. 10, Chadian capital N’djamena at No. 9, Shanghai at No. 7, Kinshasa, the capital of Democratic Republic of Congo, at No. 6, Tokyo at No. 5 and Singapore at No. 4.
Some European cities also made the top 10 costliest cities in which to live, with Geneva at No. 8 and Zurich at No. 3. London dropped five places from last year to No. 17. Other European cities, like Moscow, plummeted even further down the list as a result of local currencies losing value against the U.S. dollar, according to the survey.
“Despite some marked price increases across the region, several local currencies in Europe have weakened against the U.S. dollar which pushed a few cities down in the ranking,” said Nathalie Constantin-Métral, a principal at Mercer charged with compiling the rankings. “Additionally, other factors like recent security issues, social unrest, and concern about the economic outlook have impacted the region.”
New York City climbed five rankings from last year to No. 11, holding its title as the most expensive city for expats in the U.S. Renting a two-bedroom unfurnished apartment will cost you about $5,100. San Francisco and Los Angeles jumped 11 and nine places to No. 26 and No. 27, respectively.
“Despite mild price increases overall, most cities in the U.S. have climbed in the ranking, primarily due to a strong U.S. dollar,” Constantin-Métral said.