Singapore costly place to live?
SINGAPORE, 9 June 2011 – Singapore has overtaken Hong Kong to become the third costliest economy in Asia for expatriates’ daily needs because of its strengthening currency, human resource firm ECA International said Wednesday.
It said the Singapore dollar, which has surged by more than 10%t against the greenback, pushed the city-state to third place above Hong Kong, with Japan and South Korea remaining the two most expensive countries.
ECA International carries out a survey twice a year by measuring a basket of common items purchased by expatriates in more than 400 locations globally, such as dairy produce, vegetables, clothing and meals out.
The survey does not include housing, utilities, car and school expenses as these items can make a significant difference to costs but, the firm says, are often compensated for separately in expatriate packages.
“While we are seeing price increases in a number of Asian locations, the main reason for Singapore’s rise in our ranking over the past 12 months is the strength of the currency,” says Lee Quane, the firm’s regional director.
He said allowances paid to protect the purchasing power of employees on long-term assignment in Singapore are now higher than those paid to international executives posted in many other financial centres.
In the latest ECA International survey, carried out in March, Singapore had leapfrogged Hong Kong to occupy sixth position in a list of the 10 most expensive Asian cities.
Tokyo was followed by Nagoya, Yokohoma and Kobe, while South Korea’s capital Seoul was ranked fifth.
After Singapore and Hong Kong, Beijing, Shanghai and South Korea’s port city of Busan were the most expensive Asian cities for expatriates.
Globally, Tokyo heads the top 10 list followed by Oslo, Nagoya, Stavanger in Norway, Yokohoma, Zurich, Angola’s capital Luanda, Geneva, Kobe and the Swiss capital of Bern.
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