Hmm… I didn’t realise that Korea is the most expensive asian place to stay for expatriates at No. 7 in the global comparison, while Singapore is in the 9th place in asia – from a ranking of No. 132 to No. 122. Apparently, Japan’s cost of living for expatriats is ranked lower than Korea – at No. 13, down 3 places from 10th. This is partly due to the recent decline in Yen. Hong Kong

While I am at this, I would like to comment that the news report… is a little confusion, especially when they didn’t mention if Japan dropped from No. 10 to No. 13, or is it the 13th most expensive place now. Report is attached as follows:

SINGAPORE has risen 10 places in a new global survey of the most expensive places for expatriates to live.

The Republic is closing the gap on higher-priced Hong Kong, which stayed at No. 79 in the survey, conducted by human resources firm ECA International.

Despite the jump, Singapore, at No. 122, is still significantly cheaper for expats than Hong Kong and other key global centres, such as London at No. 10 and New York at No. 48.

Singapore’s rise up the table from No. 132 was the result of rising expat costs such as higher rents, coupled with a stronger Singapore dollar.

In contrast, the Hong Kong dollar, which is pegged to the US dollar, is weakening – offsetting a rise in expat costs.

Singapore is the ninth most expensive Asian city, the survey found. Seoul is the most expensive, at No. 7 in the world. Tokyo dropped from 10th to 13th place, partly due to a decline in the yen.

Top spot went to the African city of Luanda in Angola. Places like this, which are off the beaten track, are more expensive because some expat consumer items are hard to get, and those who want them have to pay top dollar.

The survey compares a basket of 128 consumer goods and services such as groceries, drinks and tobacco, clothing and electrical goods that are commonly purchased by expatriates in more than 300 locations worldwide.

Multinational firms use the survey’s results to help determine how much to pay their staff working overseas.

Living costs for expats are affected by factors such as inflation, availability of goods and exchange rates.

Singapore has seen higher inflation, partly due to a 2 percentage point hike in the goods and services tax to 7 per cent.

Mr Sebastien Barnard, 32, at the British Chamber of Commerce, said living expenses, especially food, have risen. ‘A year ago, lunch for two adults and two children cost about $70, including drinks. But now it’s over $95.’

But the surge in property rents is still the biggest bugbear of expats here.

Mr Mark Brider, 43, head of international personal banking for the Royal Bank of Scotland in Singapore, said: ‘There is a growing number of international people living in Singapore, so the demand drives up rental. My landlord just told me my rent will be raised 80 per cent in March next year.’

Nonetheless, he added, Singapore’s cost of living is still ‘competitive’ and ‘has still not reached the level of Hong Kong’.

The rising Singapore dollar has also pushed up expat living costs, said Mr Lee Quane, general manager of ECA International Hong Kong.

He said Singapore’s rising cost of living is ‘bad news’ for global companies, which have to adjust their expat employees’ pay and allowances to help them maintain their spending power here.

graceng@sph.com.sg

Article obtained from straitstimes.com on 27th November 2007



Reader's Comments

  1. Vandalin | November 27th, 2007 at 3:47 pm

    I’m actually surprised that Korea’s cheaper than Japan. Wonder if they take the capital city as comparison, or an average of the country’s population centres.

    They might want to compare cost of living as a factor of income of expatriates in the country, for a more accuate gauge of real expense.

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