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Bangkok climbs rankings in most expensive cities survey

Jun 26. 2019
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By The Nation

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Eight of the world’s top 10 most expensive cities are located in Asia as a result of the region’s high costs for consumer goods and a dynamic housing market, with Bangkok (40) jumping 12 places, according to Mercer’s 25th annual 2019 Cost of Living Survey, which was released on Wednesday.

Hong Kong tops the list as the world’s costliest city for the second consecutive year with the local housing market increasingly out of reach for many. 

Other cities appearing in the top 10 are Tokyo (2), Singapore (3), Seoul (4), Zurich (5), Shanghai (6), Ashgabat (7), Beijing (8), New York City (9), and Shenzhen (10). Ashgabat in Turkmenistan saw the biggest rise in rankings, jumping 36 places from 43rd in 2018, the result of the country’s shortage of currency and imported goods driving up prices.

Bangkok’s rise in ranking was largely due to the movement of other cities as well as the effects of a buoyant economy, with currency fluctuation and inflation having little impact.

Mario Ferraro, Mercer’s Global Mobility Practice Leader for Asia, Middle East and Africa, said Asia continued to be a major engine of global economic growth.

“Despite the relatively high cost of living, many organisations still see a strong business rationale for moving talent into and within the region. At the same time, cost considerations are still an issue, and we are seeing an increased focus on having a clear business case for the assignment, as well as measuring the return on investment,” he said.

This year’s ranking 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.

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