Hong Kong ranked world’s most expensive city for expats

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Hong Kong is the world's most expensive city for expatriates, according to a new survey

Luanda -- the capital of Angola -- was second, followed by Zurich

CNN  — 

Where does it cost almost $8 to buy a cup of coffee and more than $4 for a liter of milk?

That would be Hong Kong, which has just been ranked as the world’s most expensive city for expatriates, according to a new survey published by international consulting firm Mercer.

Luanda, the capital of Angola, was placed second most expensive in the survey, followed by Zurich, Singapore and Tokyo.

Kinshasa ranked sixth in world, according to the Mercer annual Cost of Living Survey, with Shanghai, Geneva, N’Djamena – the capital of Chad – and Beijing rounding out the top 10.

Mercer’s Global Mobility Leader for ASEA, Mario Ferraro, said that although currency fluctuations had played a large part in this year’s rankings, many local currencies in fact became cheaper against the U.S. dollar during the survey period.

“Hong Kong is so expensive primarily due to accommodation costs but also because the dollar there has remained fairly stable as opposed to other currencies that devalued against the U.S. dollar to various degrees,” he said.

Other cost of living factors in Hong Kong also contributed, such as the high price of imported goods and clothing. There, a pair of jeans costs an average of $128, the third highest price among the top 10 countries surveyed.

The survey ranks the cost of living for expatriates in more than 375 cities around the world, using the U.S. dollar cost for a weighted basket of goods.

Ferraro said that of this basket – which includes things like the cost eating out at restaurants, eating at home, clothes, personal care items and electrical appliances – accommodation continued to be the main factor that made expat living expensive in all countries outside of the U.S.

“If you look at the top 10, eight were already there last year, so there were no major changes, but there is not one single American city in there,” said Ferraro.

“They are all Asian, European or African locations, mainly to do with the fact that the U.S. dollar has been doing quite well against other countries.”