LONDON – Even though Japan has been hit by a deflationary economy, Tokyo is still the world’s most expensive city for the expatriate community, a rank it has now held for the past 12 years, according to a survey released by a British think tank Thursday.
The semiannual survey by the Economist Intelligence Unit compared 134 cities around the world over costs for consumer goods and services, including bread, vegetables, car rentals and hourly wages of a baby sitter.
Tokyo measured 139 in the EIU index, which uses New York as a base of 100, followed by Kobe and Osaka, which collectively came in second with an index of 136.
Oslo at 123 replaced Hong Kong at 115 as the third most expensive city.
U.S. cities dropped out the top 10 most expensive cities. New York fell from seventh place to 11th, trailing Paris, which ranked 10th with an index of 103.
The cheapest large U.S. city for expats to live in is Atlanta, where the living cost index, 73, was one notch lower than that of Tianjin, China.
Beijing, with a 94 index, was ranked the most expensive city in China and the 19th in the world, after Los Angeles and Vienna, both with a 95 index.
Seoul, which reported an index of 97 this year, jumped from 21st place last year to 13th this year. The think tank attributed Seoul’s rising living cost largely to a stronger currency against the dollar.
In Asia, Tehran, with an index of 31, is the least costly city, followed by New Delhi and Bombay, ranked 130th and 128th in the world, with indexes of 41 and 42. Manila shared the 128th rank.
South American cities ranked among the cheapest due to faltering economies and depreciating currencies, the EIU said.
Buenos Aires plunged from 21st place last year to 130th place this year with an index of 41. Caracas fell from 56th last year to 109th this year, with an index of 56.
The city with the lowest living cost index this year is Harare, with an index of 30.
The EIU is the business information arm of the Economist magazine.
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